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Parvaz Children's Magazine
Issue on Children's Rights

Reviewed By: Obaid Younossi

Parvaz is a magazine addressed to Afghan children, and published in Kabul by the French media NGO, AINA. The organization also has programs to train photojournalists, run a women's radio station, produce documentaries and docudramas, and more.

Parvaz is produced in the country's two major languages, Dari and Pashtu. Each issue contains short stories and statements accompanied by a beautifully illustrated comic strip. Each story is about a page long and addresses, in simple language, the daily concerns and challenges Afghan children face. This includes topics such as education, health care, gender inequality, child labor, forced marriage, child trafficking, and safety. Through various everyday settings, the author and the illustrator take on one of these issues and show what recourse children have. The authors also explore other children's issues --not unique to the Afghan culture-- such as the need for leisure, sibling rivalry, and child-parent relations.

The hero of these stories is a young Afghan man by the name of Iqbal who is aware of all the laws and rights pertaining to children, as well as being savvy about human relations. He offers advice for both kids and adults. In the comic strip, Iqbal has superhero abilities. For example, he flies and takes a sick child to the hospital; swoops down to rescue another from being kidnapped by a group of men; prevents a debt collector from forcing a seven-year-old girl to marry his twelve-year-old son; and rescues a boy from a makeshift prison. Furthermore, is there to tell parents about their daughters' rights to go school and to receive equal treatment within the family. He encourages parents to listen to their children; advises children to be kind to those with handicaps instead of taunting them; and urges them to treat their siblings with respect. Each story is accompanied by a short testimonial from a real child whose picture appears alongside the story.

This is a useful little magazine that raises critical societal and cultural issues important not only to Afghan youth but also to the other Pashto and Farsi speaking children of the region. It educates children about their rights and hopefully helps them overcome societal and cultural barriers.

About Parvaz Magazine

Parvaz, which translates from Farsi/Dari as "fly", is a magazine aimed at Afghan children between the ages 6 to 14. It was launched in 2001. The magazine's stories are conceived and produced by a team of Afghan and non-Afghan journalists, writers, illustrators and photographers.

Obaid Younossi is a Senior Management Systems Analyst at RAND where he focuses on the systems acquisition, costing and industrial base issues.