Frequently Asked Questions:

What is Little Kabul Stories?

Little Kabul Stories is a video interview project about Afghan American experiences and culture. The stories and traditions of members of the Bay Area’s Afghan American community were presented in short video interviews and clips. Several community events were held to screen the videos and celebrate Afghan American culture, and the videos are currently available to view on the internet. Pending future funding, we plan to continue documentation of these community voices and make their stories available online.

What is the purpose of this project?

The Little Kabul Stories videos are intended to document and share Afghan American stories and experiences, and to share the richness of Afghan culture with Californians who may not have had opportunities to learn about it.

Who will see the video interviews?

The video interviews are available online and have been shown at several local events.

Who is conducting this project?

Little Kabul Stories is a collaborative project sponsored by the Center for Empowering Refugees and Immigrants (CERI), conducted by students of SFSU and CSU-EB, community members, volunteers, and funded by Cal Humanities.

About Our Participants (alphabetical order):

Ustad Abdul Rashid Benish

Jala Hussaini

Abdal Hai Hashim

Parvin Harooni

Bismillah Iqbal

Layma Murtaza

Fariba Nawa

Rona Popal

Nadeem Saaed

Abdul Tawab Wahab


Fatima Imami

Salar Nader

Aziz Omar

David Wahab




VOLUNTEERS – Many thanks to our wonderful volunteers who have made this project possible!

Hamed Ershad – Logo Design and Animation

Quadria Waziri – Additional Translation

Abdul Tawab Wahab – Title Card Translation

Laetitia Jacquart – Camera and Editing

Vanessa Avery – Camera, Photography

Maruf Noyoft – Poetry Translation

Nurges Gheyaszada & Mariam Wahab- Event planning and decoration

Sami Nadi – Sculpture and Art


About Our Advisors:

Advisor: Tamim Ansary, Author and Speaker

Mir Tamim Ansary, born in Kabul, Afghanistan, is an Afghan American author and public speaker. His book West of Kabul, East of New York is a literary memoir recounting his bicultural perspective on contemporary world conflicts. West of Kabul, East of New York was San Francisco’s One City One Book selection for 2008. Ansary also edited and published a group of essays by young Afghans entitled, Snapshots: This Afghan American Life, published in 2008. Ansary has lectured on the history and development of Islam, which was broadcast through a local affiliate of National Public Radio. Ansary’s historical novel The Widow’s Husband portrays the nineteenth-century British invasion of Afghanistan from both an Afghan and a British perspective. His award-winning book, Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes was published in spring of 2009 by Public Affairs Books. Mir Tamim moderates the San Francisco Writers Workshop in an attempt to give back to younger writers what was given to him when young. His forthcoming book, Games Without Rules: The Often Interrupted History of Afghanistan will be published in November 2012.


Advisor: Mona Afary, Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist, CERI Founder and Clinical Director

Mona Afary is the founder and clinical Director for the Center for Empowering Refugees and Immigrants (CERI –  She founded CERI in 2005 in direct response to the urgent need for community mental health services for survivors of war and genocide in Oakland, California. Prior to that she served as the Clinical Coordinator for Jewish Family and Children Services in Oakland, overseeing mental health services for Cambodian, Afghan, Iranian and Bosnian refugees and immigrants. Dr. Afary holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the Wright Institute, in Berkeley. She has been working as a licensed clinician since 1987.  She specializes in trauma work with diverse refugee and immigrant populations and their families. CERI currently serves individuals of Afghan, Bosnian, Burmese, Cambodian, Iranian, Mien, Laotian and Vietnamese descent. Presently the majority of CERI’s clients are Cambodian and Afghan refugees living in Oakland and Concord, California. Dr. Afary speaks Farsi fluently.


Advisor: Peter Biella, Ph.D. Visual Anthropologist

Peter Biella is a Filmmaker and Professor in Visual Anthropology, and Chair of the Anthropology Department at San Francisco State University. He advises students in their productions of applied, collaborative videos, and has produced many such videos himself.  He is past president of the Society for Visual Anthropology, and occasional editor of Visual Anthropology Review.  Biella’s Yanomamo Interactive: The Ax Fight on CD-ROM, with Napoleon Chagnon and Gary Seaman, made a significant contribution to interactive ethnography. Textiles in Ayacucho, which he produced with Mary Strong, won the Society for Visual Anthropology’s Best Short Film award in 2007.  Peter Biella is currently engaged in the production and distribution of health education videos made for Tanzanian Maasai in their own language. www.


Advisor: Juliet Lee, Ph.D. Research Anthropologist   

Dr. Lee is a research anthropologist and principal investigator at the Prevention Research Center, an organization that conducts community based research projects throughout refugee and immigrant communities of the San Francisco Bay Area. She is principal investigator of “Improving the Health of Cambodian American Women: A CBPR Approach,” a community-based participatory research and pilot prevention project funded by the National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities; “Youth-led Tobacco Prevention among CA Southeast Asians,” a participatory research project; and “The Social Meanings of Drug Use For Asian Youth,” a longitudinal ethnography of drug use among Southeast Asian youth in the San Francisco Bay Area, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. She served as ethnographer on the Sacramento Neighborhood Alcohol Project, a community-based preventive intervention to reduce youth alcohol abuse. Dr. Lee holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Virginia and an MA in Asian Studies from the University of Hawaii.


Project C0-Director: Aya Okawa, Visual Anthropology

Aya Okawa is a researcher and filmmaker currently completing a Masters in Visual Anthropology at San Francisco State University. She has a B.A. in Cultural Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley and has an interest in languages, culture and music. She studied Farsi at the University of Esfahan, at the Dehkhoda Institute of the University of Tehran, Iran and in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. She co-authored the ‘Colloquial Tajiki Phrasebook’ with Bahriddin Aliev and has conducted ethnographic research in Persian-speaking Central Asia, South Asia and North Africa. For the past several years she has worked with the Center for Empowering Refugees and Immigrants and is in post-production for the short film “Khmerican: Our Journey” about first and second generation Cambodian American refugees living in Oakland.


Project Co-Director: Aisha Wahab, Board Member, Afghan Coalition

Aisha Wahab is an active community organizer and serves as a board member of the Afghan Coalition and several other organizations. She has worked tirelessly for the Afghan American community and believes that Afghan culture and history needs to be preserved and respected, accurately. Aisha has continually expressed the need for the US to support peace building & nation building in Afghanistan to ensure the protection of U.S. interests in the future and stability of the region. Selected as a delegate for peace during Afghanistan’s 2014 election, Aisha visited Afghanistan for the first time. Her years of dedicated service allowed her to be selected as a participant of the  White House’s Afghan American Roundtable Discussion.

Aisha received her B.A. in Political Science and an M.B.A.