A near-perpetual war in Afghanistan that has uprooted lives and severely impacted the country has rendered it to be called the “nation of widows”. The lives of Afghan widows, a number currently estimated to be near 70,000 in Kabul alone and nearly 1.5 Million in all of Afghanistan, are found to be at an inertial roadblock. The lack of any formal education, work opportunities, and even proper healthcare as decreed by the Taliban owing to archaic laws prevents them from acquiring the necessary means to earn a respectable livelihood or lead dignified lives.
Nearly 500 Afghan widows that have survived despite all odds and continuous discrimination cocooned in an informal settlement on the hills to the southeast of Kabul since the 90s. The settlement came to be called ‘Zanabad’, roughly translating to the city of/by the women. Despite interference and shunning even by the authorities, over the years, the widows of Zanabad have mobilized to weave a mutual system of co-dependence: standing up for each other. However, despite some help from the government and NGOs, there fails to be a permanent solution to alleviate the plight of the widows of Zanabad, and in the larger scheme of things, Afghanistan. Some of them from Zanabad still beg or have to engage in prostitution for supporting their families as a result of the oppression and a deplorably patriarchal society that wouldn’t treat them as human.
Under such inhuman precedents, the rehabilitation of Afghanistan’s widows in a cordial, secure environment is a warranted intervention, necessitating the involvement of the government too. The challenge here would be to design a facility that would cater to their residential needs, livelihood, and education for themselves and their children, along with providing the requisite training for becoming self-sufficient and train future residents. It is to be a building that can be seen as a symbol of strength, solidarity, embrace and hope in a country historically notorious for being unjust and hostile to its women.
Brief: The Challenge is to design a Resilience Centre in Zanabad for the widows of Afghanistan, providing them and their families with residence, educational and work opportunities under an umbrella facility.
Download the information related to this competition here.
TitleResile - Resilience Center for the Widows of Afghanistan
TypeCompetition Announcement (Built Projects & Masterplans)
Registration DeadlineMay 19, 2020 03:55 PM
Submission DeadlineSeptember 29, 2020 03:55 PM