Resource-rich Afghanistan has been devastated by prolonged war. Its unique traditions of Islamic art and architecture, from tile work to calligraphy and embroidery, have also been badly affected.
Recently, 14 artists from Afghanistan representing Turquoise Mountain Foundation were in India for a two-month-long course on diamond grading and jewellery management at the Delhi Gem Laboratory.
The Turquoise Mountain Foundation was founded in 2006 at the request of Prince Charles of Wales and the President of Afghanistan to create jobs, skills and a renewed sense of national identity.
The Afghan artists, who hail from Kabul, were thrilled with their first visit to India.
"Indian culture is similar to Afghanistan. People are very nice and India has developed a lot. What we have learnt here, we will share our knowledge with the unemployed youth when we go back to Afghanistan. Many youth in Afghanistan are not involved in productive work. I will share my experience of diamond crafting and jewellery making with them," said Habibullah, a craftsperson from Afghanistan.
India's has been playing a major role in skill development of the Afghan youth.
These students are grateful that after enhancing their technical skill, they will be able to make a good career for themselves and contribute to their country's development.
"We have so many expectations from these students and hand by hand we can make Afghanistan. They are first students who have learnt this skill. You know, Afghanistan doesn't have diamonds but these students can grade diamonds and are good in jewellery. Our NGO is trying to hold some exhibition in London and these students are the ones who will make the designs for these jewellery. I am very happy and proud of them," said Ibrahim, course coordinator and translator.
Delhi Gem and Jewellery Institute situated at Karol Bagh in New Delhi is known mainly for its two courses, Diamond grading and Jewellery Management.
These courses train the students to distinguish between good and bad diamonds, fake and real diamonds, how to take care of all purchasing, cost-analysis and gold part wastage concepts etc.
Ashish Kalra, chief gemologist at the institute has been working day and night with the Afghan students.
"Looking at the current scenario, what Afghanistan is going through? I think this is one other nice course. They can make their lives and earn a lot out of it," said Ashish Kalra, Chief Gemologist at DGL (Delhi Gems Laboratory)
He added "I have seen the performance of these students on one-to-one basis. They performed really well. Teaching Afghan students, I don't know if Afghanistan is developed in education, but given a chance they can do really well." (ANI)