The following profile is drawn from our 2021 Annual Viewbook, a report celebrating grantees, their projects, and the history of Projects for Peace. To read the full Viewbook, click here.
Displacement as a result of political upheaval, war, and the resultant persecution often experienced by those living in the affected areas have long created a loss of place, community, and culture for those forced to relocate. Women and girls make up nearly half of the global refugee population, a personal reality for Lina Tori Jan. Tori Jan migrated from Afghanistan to the United States, and ever since that time has been focused on identifying ways to preserve a sense of cultural identity and community both for herself and the many Afghan refugees worldwide. It was this urge that compelled her to design “Chai wa Dastan (Tea and Tale),” a podcast series focused on preserving stories from Afghan women.
While Tori Jan’s initial plan was to enact her project in person with a small group of Afghan refugees based in Richmond, Virginia, constraints from the COVID-19 pandemic inspired her to go global. The resulting podcast approach enabled “refugee and immigrant women to tell their stories of perseverance, strengths, struggles and hopes verbally to the rest of the world,” writes Tori Jan. Her goals for the project were to “aid participants in their attempts to use their voices, connect with others, share life lessons, and celebrate one another,” as well as to “play a small part in addressing the lack of a greater community….and literary/language skills to communicate with, which is often experienced by refugee and immigrant women.”
The renewed crisis in Afghanistan in summer 2021 amplified the need for projects like Tori Jan’s. She and her team hope to continue recording and releasing episodes indefinitely so that more and more Afghan refugees can share their stories and lives.
Visit the “Chai wa Dastan” site and listen for yourself by following this link.