Afghanistan’s first and only all women orchestra (Zohra) has been chosen the winner of Freemuse Award 2017.
The award was apparently given to Zohra, Afghanistan’s first and only all women orchestra, for their role in empowering the women through music.
Freemuse, the world forum on music and censorship, is an independent international membership organisation advocating and defending freedom of expression for musicians and composers worldwide.
In a press release following the announcement of the award to Zohra, Freemuse hailed the orchestra students for their role as the first women in the families, community, and country of the National Institute of Music (ANIM) to learn music in over 30 years.
“Afghanistan’s musical scene suffered enormously in the last decades of the 20th century due to war, exile of musicians, and the draconian policies of the Taliban banning music entirely,” the organization said in its news release.
It further added “Additionally, the extremist policies of the Taliban in regards to women’s rights dealt a huge blow to the education, employment and social rights of Afghan girls and women.”
“Moved by the critical state of music, musicians, music education and women in his native country, Dr Ahmad Sarmast, a visionary and the first Afghan to obtain a doctorate in music, initiated a groundbreaking project to revive and promote musical education in Afghanistan, which led to the establishing of ANIM in 2010,” Freemuse said.
The news release also added “One of ANIM’s primary commitments is to empower girls through music. Today 65 out of 200 students are girls aged between 14 to 20 years.”