Dear photokunst family,

With the upcoming holiday of Thanksgiving in mind, we have decided to break with tradition and ask you to consider a donation directly to Kabul’s model orphanage “House of Flowers” started and administered by the MEPO Foundation’s founder Mostafa Vasiri MD and Allison Lide, Montessori teacher/educator 10 years ago. 

We have been working on a book project Healing Afghanistan: Hope for the Children of War by Judy Duchesne-Peckham, see details below. We feel very strongly about this opportunity to highlight the urgency of keeping this inspirational, humanitarian effort of 10 years alive and if possible, give back. We and our children are the lucky ones. 

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving. Know that we are grateful for your interest and support in photokunst and it’s mission.

Barbara and the photokunst staff. 


Thirty years of war in Afghanistan has resulted in an estimated two million orphaned children. Some live with extended families, many live in government-operated and private orphanages—all of which struggle to meet the overwhelming needs of their young residents. The children’s losses encompass everything from a safe family life to a safe country, from a safe education to a safe food supply, from a safe past to a safe future. This book is about the institutional transformation now under way in Afghanistan, based on the House of Flowers model, and the ways in which it is serving to teach, nurture and heal the children.

On Friday July 13, 2012, Brian Williams, of NBC Nightly News, featured a visit by Vietnam era humanitarian activist, Betty Tisdale, to the House of Flowers Orphanage in Kabul, the only Montessori school/orphanage in Afghanistan. 



Dear concerned and kind MEPO Friends,

MEPO, after a short break in 2012, is again picking up the responsibility to fund and operate the House of Flowers in Kabul. The political situation in Afghanistan is changing while the House of Flowers (HoF) orphanage that we created in 2002 is steadily moving forward with 33 children, and new ventures such as a nursery for abandoned babies, and a training program to share our Montessori approach.

We are calling on you to support our orphanage in Kabul, as many of you have been for the past 10 years. The good news is that now you can send your donations by credit card on our completely new website (still at  It is full of new and updated pictures and information and is also now a forum for a wonderful exchange of ideas, letters, articles, and poems as well as being the place to make donations. 

We need your donations because there is a growing so-called “Afghanistan fatigue” with the news. But we cannot let the orphanage be lost, because there is no way to stop in the middle of what we have started, any more than parents can stop taking care of their children. We all have become the guardians of these children in Kabul. We cannot morally drop them in the middle of the war-zone and poverty-stricken Afghanistan with massively destitute families struggling to stay alive.  We have children who are as old as eighteen, like Razia who will be going to Kabul University next year, and children as young as two months, the product of rape and whose mother is consequently in a psychiatric hospital. Can we abandon these children, and others like them?

At this point we DESPERATELY need donations to move forward, to put food on the table and have these children in the House of Flowers for as long as the political climate allows. Please help as much and as consistently as you can to give continuity to this charitable act. Please do not abandon these children.

We hope you will visit our website at  and that you will send us your articles and thoughts so we can post them on the site.

You can also like us on Facebook at houseofflowersorphanage. Spread the word!

We look forward to receiving your donations and feedback. You can always write us at

With gratitude,

Mostafa Vaziri and Allison Lide




Book Synopsis: Healing Afghanistan: Hope for the Children of War

In 2003, when photojournalist/teacher Judy Duchesne-Peckham first traveled to Afghanistan, she documented both the prevailing despair in the large government orphanages and the beginning of hope in one small Montessori-based orphanage/school, the House of Flowers, founded in 2002 by Dr. Mostafa Vaziri, a physician and Allison Lide, a Montessori teacher. The results achieved at the House of Flowers caught the interest of Mr. Sayyid Abdullah Hashemi, Afghanistan’s new national Director of Orphanages and himself an orphan. Mostafa Vaziri and Allison Lide will travel to Afghanistan to begin teaching the Montessori approach to educating and nurturing the children orphaned by war. This ten-year journey is documented and celebrated in Healing Afghanistan—Hope for the Children of War.


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