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Documentary Screening, July 6 2010 – The Garden at the End of the World

Another free screening of Gary Caganoff’s film featuring Mahboba’s Promise, ‘The Garden at the End of the World‘, will be held at the International Peace Research Association Conference at Sydney University on July 6th, 2010.

As part of the conference’s fringe events the film will be at the Footbridge Theatre* at 6pm. Gary, permaculturalist Rosemary Morrow, and Emtissal Little representing Mahboba’s Promise, will speak afterwards. Members of the public are inviteded to attend the screening.

Entry is free and Afghan refreshments will be provided.

Watch documentary trailer here:

Please circulate to your friends.

Mahboba’s Promise newsletter downloadable here as well.

*The Footbridge Theatre is part of Sydney University, at the southern end of the footbridge spanning Parramatta Road, just west of Glebe Point Road.

More details via press release below:

Media Release 29th June 2010 – Taking a brutally honest look at Afghanistan

The Garden at the End of the World is a confronting new documentary on Afghanistan illustrating the tragic consequences of war, and the widespread hunger, homelessness and lawlessness that it causes. The film, by award winning Australian filmmaker Gary Caganoff, portrays the lives of the hardest hit, the widows and orphans, who number in tens of thousands, following two remarkable Australian women; humanitarian, Mahboba Rawi, and internationally recognised permaculturalist Rosemary Morrow, who offer alternatives to the ‘reconstruction’ efforts that have not worked.

Through these two remarkable women Caganoff elicits stories and images of Afghani suffering rarely seen before. Neither sentimental nor sensational the film is remarkable, reaching into the depths and complexities of war torn Afghanistan.


Mahboba Rawi, a refugee from the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, lives in Sydney. In 2001 she established a not-for-profit organisation, Mahboba’s Promise, and began intervening and assisting thousands of homeless widows and orphans. Mahboba was recently honoured with an OAM for her outstanding work. Rosemary Morrow, based in the Blue Mountains, is a permaculturalist who has spent the last 30 years working with war torn communities, helping them to re-establish their lives centred on the self sufficiency and resilience they once enjoyed.

The Australian Federal Labour party’s policy shift includes deporting Afghans back to Afghanistan despite the escalating violence there. This will affect 290 Afghan children in Australia, who are without family, in detention.

“The Australian government’s belief that conditions in Afghanistan have improved and fewer people are facing persecution, is misguided”, says Gary. “The truth is that while Afghanistan now has more schools and mobile phone networks, the people are still hungry and traumatized by the on-going conflict. Five million children don’t go to school because their basic needs are still not being met.”

  • 60,000 children work and beg on the streets of Kabul
  • 60% of all Afghan children under the age of five suffer malnutrition

Clearly neither international aid nor security is working (see fact sheet below). The situation is worse than ever before.

“If we are making things worse, then should we be there at all?” asks Gary. This raises another question; if the Taliban take back control of the country, which is highly probable (without the help of international forces), what will happen to the Afghan people?

“It’s a catch 22, and I believe that only until we seriously look at our political and humanitarian agendas and acknowledge the contradictions between them, can we move forward.

"Peace in Afghanistan will be impossible until we take a brutally honest look at why we are there" say Gary.


The Facts on Aid to Afghanistan

  • Aid shortfall of $10bn – equivalent to thirty times the annual national education budget: donors committed to give $25bn aid since 2001 but have only delivered $15bn.
  • 40% of aid goes back to donor countries in corporate profits and consultant salaries –
    some 6bn since 2001.
  • Afghan government does not know how one-third of all aid since 2001 – some $5bn – has been spent, largely due to lack of coordination and communication.
  • Over two-thirds of all aid bypasses the Afghan government.
  • US military spends close to $100m a day in Afghanistan; yet the average volume of aid spent by all donors since 2001 is just $7m per day.
  • Over half of aid is tied, requiring the procurement of donor-country goods and services.
  • Less than 40% of technical assistance is coordinated with the government and only one-third of donor analytical or assessment work is conducted jointly.
  • Profit margins are often 20% and can be as high as 50% on reconstruction contracts for international and Afghan contractor companies.
  • Most full time expatriate consultants cost $250,000 – $500,000 a year, working in private consulting companies.

Source: Aid Effectiveness in Afghanistan. Author: Matt Waldman, Policy and Advocacy Adviser, Oxfam International, Afghanistan, Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief (ACBAR).

One Comment

  1. Hi,

    Permaculture Hunter (PHR) will be screening this film in Newcastle (Australia) on Wed July 21st at 6.30pm at the Elderly Citizens Centre, Laing St. Newcastle as part of out regular monthly meeting programme (every 3rd Wed-same venue). Gary Gaganoff will be coming up from Sydney to present it. All welcome! Liza

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