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Volume 2, Issue 7 Editor: Mustafa Najib

Quarterly Newsletter


Number One in Serving the Afghan community in Australia

Inside this issue:

Eid-ul-Fitr Celebration The Association of Hazaras in Victoria is a community organization dedicated to serving Afghani refugees and migrants and assisting with their settlement in Australia. We are devoted to promoting the active participation of Afghani refugees and migrants in Australia’s multicultural society. The Association is proud to be the leading community organization, which regularly organizes seminars, projects, conferences and cultural events. With a limited amount of funds and a Management Committee of volunteer members, the Association has successfully organized important events, vital for the cultural needs of the community since is its establishment in 2002. Saturday the 4 th October was one of these important events, successfully organized by the Association of Hazaras in Victoria. This

huge gathering had more than five hundred guests and the program was a great night of music, food, fun and festivities. The program started with a legendary Afghani song performed by three young Hazara girls

and fun dinner was served before Mr. Saberi the secretary of the Association spoke about the latest activities and projects. Mr. Hamdam carried out a competition about general knowledge of Afghan/

The Association of Hazaras in Victoria celebrating Eid-ul-Fitr

who form the “Naween Arts Group” which is managed and fully funded by the Association. Then Ms. Sharifi, the Association’s Deputy President welcomed the guests. With more music

Hazara cultural values and winners were presented with prizes. The program continued with more songs, music and the Afghani national dance “Attan”.

Our AGM and the New Management Committee Our association is currently the only dynamic Afghani community organization that holds regular general meetings and publishes annual reports. As part of our social activities, we publish a monthly newsletter in Dari and a quarterly newsletter in English. To help Afghani refugees and migrants, we also regularly run information sessions and projects with the cooperation of mainstream organizations in the commu-

Translating for Charity

nity services sector. This year our Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held in August and coincided with Afghanistan’s Independence Day. Hundreds of community members attended this general meeting and celebrated the Independence Day. In our AGM this year the association’s activities and achievements were discussed and a new manage-

ment committee elected.


The new management committee comprises of 11 members, and in order to encourage Afghani women to actively take part in community leadership, the association decided to elect a minimum of two female members to its management committee. The association also has updated its Charter and its organizational goals.

Hazaras: Afghanistan’s Best Hope

Our organizational aims are:

The Rugmaker of Mazar-eSharif

 To bring the Afghan community together and promote their active participation in Aus-

Consultation Meeting “Afghani Women’s Driving Project”

 To support human rights, democratic freedoms and the rights of ethnic minorities in

 To assist Afghani refugees and migrants with their resettlement in Australia.

tralia’s multicultural society. Afghanistan.

By Hamed Saberi I started working as a probono translator several years ago when I realised that there were a lot of Afghan clients who could not afford private translation services due to financial hardship. It was mainly for newly arrived migrants as well as refugees on Temporary Protection Visas. I have recently commenced translating for charity where the clients donate money to a charity account run by the Association of Hazaras in Victoria

instead of paying the full translation fee. My hope is to draw my clients’ attention to what we sometimes neglect while we enjoy the comfort of life in Australia and that is our fellow

“we sometimes neglect while we enjoy the comfort of life in Australia ...that our fellow Afghans in our homeland desperately need our help.”

Afghans in our homeland who desperately need our help. Translating for Charity is anticipated to raise about $2000 per year for the account which is going to be used only for charity purposes in Afghanistan. It is also worth mentioning that to ensure that the money raised by the association serves its purpose best, Zabi Mazoori, our president, is currently in Afghanistan on a mission to find out where the charity fund should best be directed to.

HAZARAS: AFGHANISTAN’S BEST HOPE By Jawad Zeerak Hazaras have been either one of the most neglected and ignored, or at other times one of the most oppressed minority groups in Afghanistan. Regardless of what happened in the past, tired after years of war and destruction; Hazaras were the first to cheer at the outcomes of the Bonn conference in 2001—the establishment of the so called democratically elected government of President Hamed Karzai. Participation in the presidential elections in the Hazara majority areas, especially the level of women’s participation, was the highest in the country. Hazaras actively joined the efforts to rebuild their country from a few high level government officials (however symbolic), to lower level civil servants. The first vice president of the country was a Hazara woman who served in the interim administration immediately after the Bonn conference. Bamyan, a province high up in the Hindu Kush ranges where the two giant Buddha Statues once stood, is the first province in the history of the country to have a woman as the head of the province. These people have shown that they have talent and potential in other walks of life as well. The first Afghan Star (Afghan Idol—a reality TV show similar to Australian Idol) was a young Hazara boy. Recently another young man of the same ethnic group

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Like many other Afghans, Hazaras are losing the hope that they had once tied to this government’s promises. If the government wants to continue to have the support of this part of Afghan society, which I believe is what they currently need the most, the government should take immediate action to encourage Hazaras to continue their support of the central government and cooperation. In fact, the government ..the central government has done could use the talent, little to help Hazara people…With the capacity and the will of these people billions of dollars in aid money, no to bring a positive noticeable work has been done in change in the war torn country, for a Hazarajat. better tomorrow.

won the first ever Olympic medal for his country in Beijing 2008. There has been no or very little poppy production in Hazarajat. Despite all the enthusiasm and the level of support shown by the Hazaras, unfortunately the central government has done little to help these people whom, according to Phil Zabriskie of National Geographic Magazine, could be Afghanistan’s best hope! With billions of dollars in aid money, no noticeable work has been done in Hazarajat. People are still suffering from poverty, lack of medical facilities, poor roads, poor education etc. In fact, a great amount of the aid money is flowing to the unsafe regions of the country where poppy production is on the rise and insurgency is a great threat to the stability of the state and President Karzai’s administration. Some have sarcastically termed this as an “Insurgency Premium” which Hazarajat is deprived of! Recently we have witnessed armed attacks by Kuchis (a term used for nomads) on Hazara people in the provinces not far from the capital Kabul leaving hundreds dead, injured, unsheltered and displaced. No action has been taken by the government to stop this, or if anything very little and most of the time not at the right time.

Similarly, if the International community (Including Australia) want to succeed in their mission of rebuilding Afghanistan and bringing stability & democracy to this country and the region, then they have to start with the people who are most in need and most enthusiastic about it. They can help make Hazarajat a success story and an example for other parts of the country to follow. (Title picked up from an article on Hazaras by Phil Zabriskie, published in National Geographic Magazine in February 2008).


“The Rug-Maker of Mazar-e-Sharif” A Remarkable Book Najaf Mazari was born in 1971 in Shar-shar, a small village near Mazar-e-Sharif in northern Afghanistan. He fled Afghanistan in 2001 and came to Australia. He settled in Melbourne where he now owns a rug shop, selling traditional Afghan rugs. His wife and daughter were finally given permission by the Australian government to join him in 2006 after a six year separation. In April 2007 he became an Australian citizen. Najaf Mazari has also set up the Mazar Development Fund which aims to raise financial support for health and education programs in his home town. The Rugmaker of Mazar-e-Sharif tells the remarkable story of a Hazara man’s journey from shepherd boy in the mountains of northern Afghanistan and his flight from torture and certain death by the Taliban, to owner of a success-

ful traditional rug shop in Melbourne. Najaf’s tale, compellingly told by biographer Robert Hillman, unpacks the grim reality of

An extraordinary book by Najaf Mazari

life in a war zone, of what it’s like to be in a house blown apart by a rocket explosion, to have brothers killed and to live in constant ter-

ror, to flee home and country in a reckless gamble to find a safe haven somewhere, anywhere. It is a story of grief, death, misery and hopelessness. It tells of a troubled country, Afghanistan, torn apart by constant war and violence. It documents the days of endless waiting in a soulless detention centre, Woomera. This is the story of how Najaf, when confronted with persecution and death at the hands of the Taliban, decided to leave his wife and young child, flee across the border to Pakistan, make his way across the Indonesian archipelago, catch a leaky boat, reach Darwin and then be buffeted by the overtly political and less-than-happy experiences of being transported to Adelaide and the detention centre in Woomera before being recognised as a legitimate refugee and settling in Melbourne.

Consultation Meeting (Afghan Women’s Driving Project) The Association of Hazaras in Victoria (AHV) in partnership with AMES has initiated a driving project for the newly arrived Afghani women. The aim of this project is to empower these women with their independency by assisting them to learn how to drive. The AHV/ AMES took a consultation meeting with VicRoads, City of Casey, City of Greater Dandenong, Springvale Neighborhood, Springvale Community Aid & Advice Bureau, Victoria Police and the Afghani women, on the 6th Oct 2008 at the Nobel Park AMES. In the meeting, while welcoming the participant and appreciating the support of all organizations, Abbas Amiry presented an overview of the project and its pro-

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gress. He also highlighted the need for a coordinated approach to implement the project with the help of government agencies, community organizations and the AHV. In the meeting, Ms Zamira Sharifi the deputy presi-

dent of AHV spoke about the history of Afghans in Australia and highlighted the need of the deriving project and how the lack of driving skills and experience is affecting the settlement process of Afghan families. The meeting was followed by question and answers with the community members. All organizations named above were demonstrated significant support to the project in various ways. AHV/AMES and the community members thank them greatly for their support of the Our Consultation Meeting about the “Driving Project” project.

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The Association of Hazaras in Victoria is a not-for-profit organization established in April 2002 to assist Afghan refugees in Australia . We enT H E A S S O C I A T I ON OF H A ZA R A S IN VICTORIA INC.

deavour to provide essential settlement support to Afghans and to bring the Afghan community together and promote their active participation in

22 Grace Park Avenue Springvale VIC 3171 PO Box 7268 Dandenong VIC 3175

Australia’s multicultural society . We also support human rights, democ-

Phone: 0421 180 637 E-mail:

challenging and diverse work of the Association is carried out by a man-

ratic freedoms and minority ethnic groups’ rights in Afghanistan. The agement committee of 11 members, elected biannually.

To look at a Persian carpet is to gaze into a world of artistic magnificence nurtured for more then 2,500 years. The Iranians were among the first carpet weaver of the ancient civilizations and, through centuries of creativity and ingenuity building upon the talents of the past, achieved a unique degree of excellence.

Afghanistan also has long been famous for its carpets. Afghan carpets are special because of the quality of wool that is used and the tightness of the weave.

If you are thinking about getting your message across in the Afghan community in Australia or promoting your business or services among the Afghan community, “Arman” monthly is the best choice. Being the only regularly published and widely distributed Dari language magazine in Australia, “Arman” magazine is a valuable source of news, information, feature articles as well as a guide to find products and services for Afghan community. For more information about “Arman” magazine please call 0438 895 728 or just send us an email to

255 Thomas St, Dandenong, 3175

Tel: (03) 9791 2636

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newsletter 7  

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