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DNA Exclusive: Afghan, India ties find new meaning at TISS

Ties between Afghanistan and India have traditionally stood the check of time. Now, these ties have discovered yet one more lovely educational knot in Mumbai at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), which has tied up with each Kabul University (KU) and Herat University (HU). As part of this tie-up facilitated by Silberman School of Social Work, Hunter College, City University of New York to assist the departments of psychology and counselling of each Afghan varsities.

A primary batch of 12 Afghan professionals arrived at TISS, (most on their first-ever go to of India) every week in the past. Explaining the aim of this interactive change Dr Aparna Joshi who heads TISS’ Centre For Human Ecology which is internet hosting the individuals advised DNA: “We want them to not only get exposed how counselling programmes are taught here but also get exposed to the pedagogical practices at TISS. Professional counselling is still evolving in India and there can be many takeaways for both sides, given how mental and psycho-social health is stigmatised in both countries and the first recourse is still going to traditional healers.”

Echoing her head of the counselling division at Herat University, Basir Ahmed Karimi, stated: “We’ve seen many decades of war and destruction in our country. Now awareness about psycho-social heath is on the rise and with it the demand for services like counselling. We hope we’ll be able to learn from experiences at India’s mother institute of social work.”

Among the six women on this batch is Spozmay Oriya, an Assistant Professor at KU’s Department of Psychology. She stated she sees plenty of scope for counselling intervention with Afghan women. “I see how it has helped heal, empower and build capacities for women to assert themselves in India and it fills me with promise. Women in back home are still made to feel second class and often subject to violence by a patriarchal society. I see many lessons for Afghan women from Indian women who are challenging mindsets without borrowing the Western template, by creating one of their own.”

Psychology school at KU, Zekrullah Faiq was all reward for India’s help for his nation. “Other countries have come to Afghanistan for war and brought arms and soldiers with them but India has given us roads, dams, schools, hospitals, our Parliament building and so on. This exchange programme is another step in that direction. No surprise then that India enjoys more love and support than our other neighbours in the region.”

Explaining why Mumbai based mostly college was chosen, Dr Martha Bragin Associate Professor at the varsity of social work stated: “The international fame of TISS within the space of social work, psychology and counselling is unparalleled on the planet and it was greatest fitted to this type of interplay.

Dr Madhushree Sekher who heads the International Relations Office confirmed TISS will quickly be established formal educational partnership with Herat University and Mirwais Neeka Institute of Higher Education, Afghanistan.

From August 1st a second group of Afghans will probably be hosted by TISS’ Centre for Women’s Studies beneath the aegis of the UNDP for an change of concepts to develop a women’s research programme at Kabul college.

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