Last week, we spoke with Percy Stubbs ‘10, who discovered a passion for helping the people of Afghanistan during his sophomore year at Sonoma Academy. Percy is currently serving as the Director of Advancement at Turquoise Mountain, an international nonprofit dedicated to creating sustainable urban regeneration through the revival of artisan industries, to improve the lives of traditional artisans, their families, and their communities. Although Turquoise Mountain was founded in Afghanistan, it now operates in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Myanmar. We asked Percy about the situation in Afghanistan, and how our community members might help.
“There are many thousands of people in Afghanistan whose lives have improved over the last twenty years through the work of NGOs like Turquoise Mountain. We have provided education, healthcare, and vocational training to thousands of Afghan artisans and their families. They aren’t just numbers; they are real human beings, and there is no getting around the fact that millions of Afghans – especially girls and women – will need our support now more than ever.
“Some of our 210 staff and 4,000 artisans may leave Afghanistan. But many more will stay and continue their work, and Turquoise Mountain will find ways to keep working with them despite the challenges presented by the new regime.
“The main point is that we can’t be apathetic: throwing up your hands and walking away will not help. We must stay engaged. We’ve been touched and astounded by the generosity of so many people who have reached out, asking what they can do to help us continue to move forward. The people of Afghanistan face a difficult road ahead in many ways, at a personal level and macro level as well. The country will face possible sanctions from other nations, and major institutional donors may feel discomfort, unsure about how to give in a safe and effective way. With these structures rattled, grassroots support will be crucially important to our continuing efforts.
“If you’d like to help, please continue to purchase crafts and artworks created by artisans from Afghanistan. You can also donate funds directly through this crowdfunding link to support our work. Above all, we must stay engaged and continue moving forward. There is still so much we can do.”
Percy has partnered with Hillary Younglove, our Visual Art teacher, to bring an exhibition of artworks and traditional crafts to our art gallery later this fall. In conjunction with the show, he will be presenting to our community on Turquoise Mountain’s work. Stay tuned for more information.