CooperAction is a No Profit Italian association founded in 2008 to promote the culture of peace and the public, economical and organizational care to enhance the protection of human rights and improve the living conditions of people in countries and areas affected by grave social, economic, political and cultural crisis.

The Handkerchiefs of Peace project, developed by CooperAction NGO, involves children from orphanages run by AFCECO and the women of OPAWC in Afghanistan-Kabul.

The idea of the project is to use art as way to self-expression and communication for the suffering endured by these communities. Firstly the children and the women drew their thoughts, stories and dreams, before a selection were reproduced in 30cm x 40cm embroidered handkerchiefs by the women of the vocational training centre.

The Handkerchiefs of Peace have been exhibited in many events including the international Sartirana Textile Show, EXPO2015 in Milan and the Contemporary and Modern Art Museum of Trento and Roveret (MART) for a year. It has also been published in the 'Calpestare la Guerra' and 'La Guerra che verrà non è la prima' catalogues by MART Museum.

Malika, 17, Lugar Province

Malika drew this picture in memorial of all those young girls who have been victims of violence. Self-destruction and self immolation have raised the concerns of all women rights defenders recently. Afghanistan's enclosed conditions and unlimited barriers are recognised as the main causes of self-destruction and self-immolation.

Malika drew this picture in memorial of all those young girls who have been victims of violence. Self-destruction and self immolation have raised the concerns of all women rights defenders recently. Afghanistan's enclosed conditions and unlimited barriers are recognised as the main causes of self-destruction and self-immolation.

Shokria, 35, Ghazni Province

Shokria has captured the problems and difficulties of women of her village. When a woman gives birth she often has to travel long distances by donkey and official statistics cite that a woman loses her life during birth and pregnancy every two hours..

Shokria has captured the problems and difficulties of women of her village. When a woman gives birth she often has to travel long distances by donkey and official statistics cite that a woman loses her life during birth and pregnancy every two hours..

Zulaikha Ameeni, 18, Wardak Province

Zulaikha wishes there was no violence - a country free from the abuse of women and she wants elimination of illiteracy and poverty from Afghanistan.

Zulaikha wishes there was no violence - a country free from the abuse of women and she wants elimination of illiteracy and poverty from Afghanistan.

Parwin

The three decades of war has left two million disabled in Afghanistan. Parwin wishes that all the people could have access to facilities and no one be in need of others.

The three decades of war has left two million disabled in Afghanistan. Parwin wishes that all the people could have access to facilities and no one be in need of others.

Noria Ahmadzay, 30, Lugar Province

'I hate bombs and weapons - because of these roadside bombs I have lost my husband - people brought me the pieces of him. I want a free and calm Afghanistan with no war and weapons. I don’t want my children to be killed like their father.'

'I hate bombs and weapons - because of these roadside bombs I have lost my husband - people brought me the pieces of him. I want a free and calm Afghanistan with no war and weapons. I don’t want my children to be killed like their father.'

Samira, 15, Parwan Province

Samira tried to show that peace, freedom and education are the desires of women.

Samira tried to show that peace, freedom and education are the desires of women.

Monira Karimi

Barack Obama (US President 2009-2017) and Hamid Karzai (Afghanistan President 2001-2014): 'Afghanistan can have peace and freedom when its president be selected by its people - not by foreigners.'

Barack Obama (US President 2009-2017) and Hamid Karzai (Afghanistan President 2001-2014): 'Afghanistan can have peace and freedom when its president be selected by its people - not by foreigners.'

Samera Mohamady

The Poverty, hunger and unemployment in Afghanistan has left many families begging on the streets. Samera says on the situation of seeing beggar women or those women selling useless items on the streets, "annoy me and give me much pain."

The Poverty, hunger and unemployment in Afghanistan has left many families begging on the streets. Samera says on the situation of seeing beggar women or those women selling useless items on the streets, "annoy me and give me much pain."

Farida Mohamady, 19, Parwan Province

Farida says that the only way for women to go out of misery is to have opportunities for education. She asks for the support of institutions like OPAWC to help them in this regards.

Farida says that the only way for women to go out of misery is to have opportunities for education. She asks for the support of institutions like OPAWC to help them in this regards.

Muzghan Sherzad, 25

Muzghan says since she was born that there has been war in the country. She wishes to have a free Afghanistan with no war, no guns and no weapons.

Muzghan says since she was born that there has been war in the country. She wishes to have a free Afghanistan with no war, no guns and no weapons.

Kobra Saleemi, 18, Baglan Province

Kobra says that her school has been destroyed by NATO bombs and Taliban rockets and that many of her classmates have been killed or injured, forcing her to flee from her own hometown: 'I want this killing and destruction to be ended in Afghanistan.'

Kobra says that her school has been destroyed by NATO bombs and Taliban rockets and that many of her classmates have been killed or injured, forcing her to flee from her own hometown: 'I want this killing and destruction to be ended in Afghanistan.'

Hina Saleemi, 22

Hina says how much violence exists in Afghanistan. Early and forced marriages are a common issue in the country, with girls forced to marry old men like their grandfather or as a second, third and even fourth wife. 'I wish for an Afghanistan where there be equal rights for men and women and both sexes can choose to marry a person of their own choice..

Hina says how much violence exists in Afghanistan. Early and forced marriages are a common issue in the country, with girls forced to marry old men like their grandfather or as a second, third and even fourth wife. 'I wish for an Afghanistan where there be equal rights for men and women and both sexes can choose to marry a person of their own choice..

Farida Mohammady, 13, Ghazni Province

Farida draws the image of a street girl watching at the boys’ school. She said boys are lucky here, they have chance to go to school without any fear, even if their school is destroyed. She hopes that girls find the same chance.

Farida draws the image of a street girl watching at the boys’ school. She said boys are lucky here, they have chance to go to school without any fear, even if their school is destroyed. She hopes that girls find the same chance.

Nargis, 16, Kabul

Nargis said, 'I wish I have freedom like birds and could fly and carry a peace message to the world'.

Nargis said, 'I wish I have freedom like birds and could fly and carry a peace message to the world'.

Maryam Akhondzada

Maryam is a mother, she said women are under social and cultural oppression, and their hands and feet are locked by chains: 'We women should stand beside each other, shoulder by shoulder in order to say no to barbarisms, because we believe right is not given, but it is taken. We have to fight for our rights and we should break all the chains.'

Maryam is a mother, she said women are under social and cultural oppression, and their hands and feet are locked by chains: 'We women should stand beside each other, shoulder by shoulder in order to say no to barbarisms, because we believe right is not given, but it is taken. We have to fight for our rights and we should break all the chains.'

Muzghan Sherzada, Ghazni Province

'The violence has affected me too much - they are cutting women lips, noses and ears.' Muzghan wishes a community where there is justice, equality, democracy and respect for women’s rights.

'The violence has affected me too much - they are cutting women lips, noses and ears.' Muzghan wishes a community where there is justice, equality, democracy and respect for women’s rights.

Sadia Tarakhil, 18, Helmand Province

Sadia says several times she has stood behind the walls of the boys school and watched how they read and write. Sadia has learned words from there and said the OPAWC educational training centre has given her opportunity to achieve the desire of becoming educated.

Sadia says several times she has stood behind the walls of the boys school and watched how they read and write. Sadia has learned words from there and said the OPAWC educational training centre has given her opportunity to achieve the desire of becoming educated.

Mursal Momand, 13, Farah Province

Mursal said the political games between the presidents of Afghanistan and the US and empowerment of warlords are the main factors behind the miseries of girls in Afghanistan. She wishes for a country where there is no interference from foreigners.

Mursal said the political games between the presidents of Afghanistan and the US and empowerment of warlords are the main factors behind the miseries of girls in Afghanistan. She wishes for a country where there is no interference from foreigners.

Malalay Noristani, 15 years, Noristan

Malalay says unemployment, poverty, interferences of neighbouring countries and the useless Afghan government has caused most of the women to beg on the streets: 'Whenever I see these miserable women I feel so sad and get headache and promise to work hard and to save and protect these women.'

Malalay says unemployment, poverty, interferences of neighbouring countries and the useless Afghan government has caused most of the women to beg on the streets: 'Whenever I see these miserable women I feel so sad and get headache and promise to work hard and to save and protect these women.'

Parwana, 17, Jalalabad

Parwana said if there is justice in Afghanistan, there will be no tears in eyes of women. She wishes justice and equally for both men and women in the community.

Parwana said if there is justice in Afghanistan, there will be no tears in eyes of women. She wishes justice and equally for both men and women in the community.

Wasila, 16, Nangerhar Province.

Wasila said pen and candle is the only way to get out of the sadness and miseries of Afghanistan, in particular for them, women.

Wasila said pen and candle is the only way to get out of the sadness and miseries of Afghanistan, in particular for them, women.

Humaira, 12, Jalalabad

Humaira said, 'I always wish that our people use pen and paper instead of war weapons'.

Humaira said, 'I always wish that our people use pen and paper instead of war weapons'.

Mahboba, 15, Takhar Province

Mahboba tried to show through this picture that all people of Afghanistan in any corner of the country want peace, stability and a free Afghanistan.

Mahboba tried to show through this picture that all people of Afghanistan in any corner of the country want peace, stability and a free Afghanistan.

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