Everything You Need to Know about the Bayat Foundation

The Bayat Foundation supports people in need throughout Afghanistan, providing clothing, food, medical care, and much more. The Bayat Foundation was established in 2006. Its ultimate mission is to foster a healthy, hopeful population, providing Afghans with the inspiration and opportunities they need to succeed and prosper.

It was founded with the objective of rebuilding Afghan communities and supporting the neediest and most at-risk. The Bayat Foundation supports Afghans in a variety of ways, providing food and clothing; maternity care; postnatal support for women and babies; educational support; orphan care; and youth sports programs.

In this article, we look at the history of the Bayat Foundation and the vital work the organization carries out across Afghanistan.

The Bayat Foundation supports families in need.

Since 2008, the Bayat Foundation runs two programs dedicated to supporting Afghan families in need: Winter Aid and Family Sponsorship.

During the coldest months of the year, warm clothing, food, and thousands of blankets are distributed to families in remote provinces of Afghanistan through the Bayat Foundation’s Winter Aid program.

Through the Family Sponsorship initiative, donors pledge $50 per month to provide the necessities to a family in need. Rather than spending their days on the streets in search of food, Afghan children are able to attend school because of the Family Sponsorship program.

afghanistan children

The Bayat Foundation provides postnatal care for mothers and babies.

Over the past few years, the Bayat Foundation has overseen construction of healthcare facilities in eight separate Afghan provinces. Previously, no formal care options existed in those areas for pregnant women and new mothers.

The new facilities incorporate maternity clinics comprising up to 150 beds. These clinics are capable of serving hundreds of thousands of Afghan women each year, free of charge. As a result of the Bayat Foundation’s efforts, the mortality rate for Afghan women and newborns has decreased.

The Bayat Foundation provides educational support and orphan care.

The Bayat Foundation has overseen remodeling and refurbishment of classrooms and dormitories across the country as well as providing much-needed school supplies. The organization has also constructed several new schools, libraries, and orphanages. It also built a sports stadium. These efforts provide a safe environment for Afghan children to learn in, helping increase literacy throughout the country by educating one child at a time.

During August 2019, the Bayat Foundation’s School and Student Assistance Program built new school facilities in Kabul. It also provided school equipment, incorporating 5,000 types of school supplies, including pencils, notebooks, shoes, backpacks, and prepackaged nutritious meals.

The Bayat Foundation also educates civilians across Afghanistan through public service announcements on a variety of different topics. These include food hygiene, personal hygiene, human rights issues, and respect for elders and youths.

The Bayat Foundation launched the American University of Afghanistan Scholars Program.

The Bayat Foundation is Afghanistan’s biggest private non-profit education, health, and social development organization. The Foundation demonstrated its enduring commitment to increasing opportunities for the youth of Afghanistan by launching its Scholars Program at the American University of Afghanistan in April 2019. Its mission is to promote a new generation of exceptional, highly-skilled IT professionals to lead technical innovation and entrepreneurship throughout Afghanistan in years to come.

afghan children

Every year, 15 scholarships will be awarded under the Bayat Scholars Program to qualified candidates who successfully complete the application process. The program will enable prospective undergraduates to study at the American University of Afghanistan and obtain a bachelor’s degree in either computer science or information communication technology.

To qualify for the program, candidates must be Afghan citizens with a high school diploma. They should be proficient speakers of English and possess a strong academic record. Qualifying students must commit to utilizing their education for the betterment of Afghanistan.

The Bayat Foundation provides disaster response, emergency relief, fresh water, and nutritious food.

The Bayat Foundation has provided emergency aid to flooding and avalanche victims, delivering medical aid, food, clothing, and other vital support in the aftermath of regional disasters. Additionally, thanks to the organization’s deep well-digging initiatives, more people throughout Afghanistan enjoy access to clean, safe drinking water today.

Each year, The Bayat Foundation Food Assistance Program initiative provides hundreds of thousands of nutritious meals to families throughout Afghanistan. Every Bayat Foundation meal kit provides pre-packaged, easy-to-prepare meals that are shelf stable and fortified with vitamins, proteins, and other key nutrients.

The Bayat Foundation partners with local schools to ensure its programs reach as many families as possible. To date, more than 172,800 pre-packaged meals have been distributed to families and children throughout Kabul and the surrounding regions.

The Bayat Foundation sponsors sporting events.

The Foundation sponsors a variety of different sporting events, including bicycle races, distance running, and walk-a-thons. Its aim is to inspire young people throughout Afghanistan to take part in competitive sports and team-building exercises.

9 of the Best Afghan Dishes

With its delicate flavor combinations, bold colors, and Persian, Chinese, Indian, and Mediterranean influences, Afghan cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the United States. Read on to learn more about some of Afghanistan’s most celebrated dishes.

1. Ashak

Ashak is a type of dumpling stuffed with leeks and served with a meat, yogurt, or garlic-mint sauce. However, each region, and often family, has its own variation of the dish, leading to a huge variety of types.

Typically served for family gatherings and holidays or on a Friday to mark the end of the week, ashak is regarded as a celebratory dish.

ashak
Image by jypsygen | Flickr

2. Jalebi

This sweet snack, popular throughout South Asia and the Middle East, is made from a batter of maida flour, which is fashioned in circular or pretzel shapes before being deep-fried and then soaked in sugar syrup.

Jalebi has a chewy consistency, with a crystallized sugar coating. Lime juice, citric acid, or rosewater are sometimes added for flavor.

3. Shorwa

This hearty dish translates from Persian to English simply as “soup.” A humble, slow-cooked dish, shorwa is perfect for a winter’s night. Its main ingredients are potatoes, beans, and meat, such as lamb, chicken, or beef.

Shorwa is a traditional dish that is eaten throughout Afghanistan. It is often flavored with tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and turmeric, and it is usually served with bread.

Shorwa
Image by Jeff Kubina | Flickr

4. Qabili palau

A great deal of thought and effort goes into Afghanistan’s national dish, qabili palau. Its origins lie in the upper echelons of Kabul society, since it was accessible only to those families that could afford nuts, raisins, and carrots to flavor their rice. Over time, more people in Afghanistan became wealthier, and the dish became mainstream.

Known as the crown of Afghan cuisine, qabili palau is a meat and rice dish made with lamb, chicken, or beef. Chefs flavor the dish with a fusion of spices, including cinnamon, cloves, cumin, cardamom, and turmeric.

The word qabili comes from the Dari word qabil, meaning “well accomplished.” The inference is that only a skilled chef can make a good qabili palau, as one must carefully balance the ingredients to create the perfect blend of delicate flavors.

5. Bolani

Bolani is an Afghan flatbread stuffed with a vegetable filling, then baked or fried.

Bolani can incorporate a variety of fillings, including potatoes, pumpkin, lentils, and leeks. Accompaniments include plain or mint-flavored yogurt.

Bolani is popular on special occasions in Afghanistan, and it is commonly served in kebab restaurants throughout America today.

6. Mantu

Mantu is a type of meat dumpling that is incredibly popular in Afghanistan. It is usually made with lamb or beef and cooked in a multilayer steamer.

Afghans cook mantu on special occasions, but it is also sold by vendors in busy streets and markets. It can be an accompaniment or a main meal.

The dish dates back to the Mongols of Central Asia. Historians believe Mongol horsemen carried frozen mantu with them as they traveled during the cold winters, boiling them over campfires to eat for supper.

Mantu
Image by Lance Nishihira | Flickr

7. Qormah          

An onion- and tomato-based casserole or stew, qormah is often the main dish at gatherings.

To prepare the dish, first the onions are fried, and tomatoes are added later. Depending on the recipe, a variety of vegetables, fruits, and spices may be included, followed by the main ingredient, usually meat. It is usually served with chalau rice.

There are more than 100 variations of qormah, including Qormah e Sabzi, featuring lamb, spinach, and greens; Qormah e Alou-Bokhara wa Dalnakhod, which includes veal or chicken, onions, sour plums, lentils, and cardamom; and Qormah e Shalgham, featuring lamb, onions, turnip, and sugar.

8. Sheer khurma

Sheer khurma is a rich vermicelli pudding made from milk, dates, nuts, and sugar. The literal translation into English is “milk with dates.” It is popular during the Islamic festival of Eid across Afghanistan, Central Asia, and the Indian subcontinent.

Made with whole milk, the dessert dish is rich and creamy. It comprises a variety of dried nuts and fruits, including dates, raisins, almonds, cashews, and pistachios.

Sheer Khurma is delicately flavored with cardamom and rosewater. It can be enjoyed either hot or cold. Khoya, or dried milk solids, is optional but recommended, as it gives the dish a richer flavor.

9. Kofta

Kofta is a type of meatball that is popular in Afghanistan. It is also served across the Indian subcontinent, and forms an important part of Middle Eastern, Balkan, South Caucasian, and Central Asian cuisines.

Afghan koftas are usually made from beef or lamb, as well as onion, seasoning, and delicate spices. It is a versatile dish that is often adapted to incorporate regional ingredients and suit seasonal constraints. The dish has a rich history across the Middle East and Persia, where it is regarded as the ultimate comfort food.

5 Fascinating Facts about Afghanistan’s Official Languages

Did you know that Afghanistan has not one but two official languages? After coexisting on an informal basis for centuries, both Pashto and Dari (the Afghan term for the language which is also known as Farsi or Persian) were recognized in Afghanistan’s 2004 constitution as the two official languages of the state.

Read on for a look at some fascinating facts about the history, usage, and relationship between these two different but equally important tongues.

The proportional balance between Dari and Pashto speakers is fairly close.

According to recent estimates, roughly 50 percent of all Afghans speak some version of Dari, while over 40 percent speak Pashto.

Dari—the first language of ethnic groups such as the Tajiks, Hazaras, and Aimaqs—is generally viewed as the lingua franca in Afghanistan and has long been used for business and government transactions. Pashto, on the other hand, is the first language of the Pashtuns, who comprise Afghanistan’s largest ethnic minority. It’s also interesting to note that bilingualism and multilingualism are fairly common across the country. For example, many Pashtuns in urban areas also speak Dari, while Dari-speaking Afghans with higher levels of education often have a good command of Pashto as well.

Dari and Pashto are both written using the Arabic alphabet.

Although Arabic is linguistically quite different from Afghanistan’s official languages, it is the Arabic alphabet that is primarily used for both Dari and Pashto, with a few modifications. For example, the modern Dari alphabet includes three extra characters that represent sounds that do not occur in traditional Arabic. Pashto goes even further, using all the Arabic letters, the additional Dari letters, and a number of other special Pashto letters for sounds that are not found in either of the other two languages (in total, the Pashto alphabet has 44 letters, while standard Arabic has 28).

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Not everyone is in favor of the term Dari.

Although Dari is the official Afghan word for the Persian language, not everyone agrees on using it. Some Persian-speaking Afghans object to the use of the word on the grounds that it makes the language seem like a separate dialect (that is, the Afghan dialect of Farsi), when in fact, Farsi and Dari are simply two different words for the same language. (This is certainly not to say that there are not distinct accents and variations when it comes to vocabulary and usage, as indeed there are throughout the country, only that these are not enough to constitute a completely different dialect.)

Other Persian speakers believe that calling their language Dari makes them feel too separated from the cultural, linguistic, and historical ties that they share with the rest of the Persian-speaking world, including countries such as Iran and Tajikistan. As a compromise, some linguistic activists in Afghanistan refer to the Persian language as Farsi-Dari.

Some of Afghanistan’s best-known poetry is written in Dari.

Over the course of the last two millennia, during which a series of Persian dynasties spread Farsi throughout significant areas of Central Asia, the language developed a deep, rich, textual presence. Today, scholars can draw on a wealth of historical Persian volumes on philosophy, science, and statecraft to trace the evolution of the Persian language over the course of centuries. Part of this extensive literature includes many works of poetry, including those by Afghanistan’s best-known and most beloved poet Rumi.

A 13th-century poet and theologian, Rumi was known for mixing sensual and religious themes and imagery together in his work. His most famous work, known as the Mathanvi or the Masnavi, is a six-book spiritual epic that attempts to teach Sufi Muslims how to become one with God. Originally written in Dari, Rumi’s poetry has been translated into many different languages and is widely read all over the world.

Unlike Dari, Pashto was a primarily spoken language.

Although the last few centuries have seen an important expansion in the body of writing and literature in Pashto, this language, in contrast to Dari, was long a primarily spoken language. (This is partly to do with the relatively restricted location of Pashto speakers, who have been largely isolated in the mountains of the Hindu Kush.)

As a result, the richness of the Pashto oral tradition is remarkable. For example, in addition to long-form oral poetry and stories, a special genre of short Pashto folk poems called landays has developed. Composed by women and typically sung aloud to the beat of a drum, these poems describe the everyday trials, tribulations, and joys of life for Afghan women. Today, alongside this oral tradition, Pashto writing and literature are more widely recognized due in part to the acclaim given to poets such as Khushal Khan Khattak, a 17th-century warrior and poet whose works touch on subjects such as unity, honor, war, and love.