Tri-Cities Voice Newspaper - What's Happening - Fremont, Union City, Newark California

August 1, 2006 > Talks in the garden

Talks in the garden

by Melanie Gadener

The Foundation for Self-Reliance (FSR) and the new Life Skills Education Consortium (FSR, SEMAH, and Narika) present the "Talks in the Garden" fundraiser on Aug. 12 in Fremont. This event is a rare opportunity to hear the silent voices of the Afghan diaspora through a preview of the Afghan Freedom Quilt and a program of speakers.

The Quilt
The Afghan Freedom Quilt is a mixed media collage of images sewn by over 120 war widows in Afghanistan and the San Francisco Bay Area. During its assembly over the past three years, the quilt has joined the hearts and hands of local Afghan American refugee war widows with the hearts and hands of the war widows left behind in Afghanistan. Pieces sewn for this amazing project are symbolic interpretations of what human rights, empowerment, equality, peace, hardship, sisterhood and freedom means to each war widow contributing to the quilt. Several women who worked on the quilt will be attending the event.

After the quilt viewing, attendees will listen as speakers give life to stories the mainstream media too often misrepresent or ignore. Noted speakers include: Heba Tarzi, associate director of the Widows Research and Support Center in Kabul, Afghanistan, who will give an in-the-trenches report on conditions that govern the women she helps; Dashka Slater, award-winning journalist, author, and poet will reflect on the lives of Afghan war widows in the Bay Area.

Funds raised from Talks in the Garden will go toward two of the community-based services that FSR offers: the SEED program in Fremont and the Grants for Self-Reliance (GSR) project in Kabul. SEED is a free, twelve-week life-skills training program that helps South Asian women achieve economic independence. GSR is a micro-grant and personal independence coaching project that works one-on-one with impoverished war widows and their children struggling to survive in post-9/11 Afghanistan.

All registration fees and donations are 100 percent tax deductible under U.S. law. Carl and Melanie Gadener will be hosting the event at their Fremont home. To register call (510) 797-4660 or email: For more information, visit

Talks in the Garden
Saturday, Aug. 12
2:30 to 6 p.m.
116 Morrison Canyon Rd., Fremont
(510) 797-4660

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