“We try to raise awareness of the importance of preserving history: we need to protect the history and culture of our ancestors.”
Habib Noori is Director of the Afghanistan Cultural Heritage Consulting Organisation (ACHCO), an NGO focussed on preserving Afghanistan’s rich cultural heritage for future generations.
With particular emphasis on the restoration of historic monuments, one of Habib’s most recent restoration projects is the magnificent 15th century Shahzada Abdullah mausoleum in Herat.
ACHCO is not directly supported by the UN but does receive input from the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on work to preserve the country’s heritage.
Prior to ACHCO’s establishment in 2011, Habib, an engineer, worked for more than a decade as a project manager in Kabul, Herat and Badakhshan with the Agha Khan Trust for Culture, as well as serving for several years in the nineties with the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat).
Habib's story. In his own words.
My name is Engineer Abdul Habib Noori. I graduated from Polytechnic University as an Engineer.
My first job was with UN Habitat from 1994 to 1999. I worked with UN Habitat in positions such as supervisor and field monitor in the first, second, fourth, sixth, ninth and 16th districts. I was working with people and councils. Our activities included upgrading activities, such as drainage, and providing access to mountainous areas and localities where people lacked access to facilities.
Our activities were effective because there were conflicts everywhere. People needed infrastructure and facilities, and we were providing assistance in this field. At that time, people were given food for work. Our activities were very effective for the public and the people were pleased. Some time later, due to some problem with the Government system, we lost our jobs.
Later on, after 1999, I started a private business. In 2002, based on the relations I had with Mr. Julian, head of UN Habitat, and with the cooperation of the Agha Khan Trust for Culture, I started new work in the area of preserving historical monuments.
From 2002 to 2008 I worked as a Project Manager in the Old City of Kabul. Later, based on need and the decision of the office, I was shifted to Herat. I was in Herat up to the end of 2010. Between then until the beginning of 2013 I was in Badakhshan as a Project Manager in the historical monuments section.
Then, as I liked to work in the field of historical monuments, I established an Afghan NGO for the preservation of historical sites. The NGO was to help those whom we had trained: they had experiences, but had lost their jobs. We hired them and provided an opportunity for them.
Right now we are a consultative institution for the preservation of historical monuments in Afghanistan and maintenance of historical sites.
Our project in Herat involves preserving and securing the historical sites, which is important for our people and society. We try to raise awareness among the population regarding the importance of preserving history: we should preserve the history and culture of our ancestors.
We ask the Government to help in raising awareness in this respect, in an attempt to attract public support. We have to build and reconstruct these historical sites and I hope that people and the Government will both help in raising awareness to preserve historical sites.
We try to promote the rules and regulations relating to the preservation of historical sites in order to keep them safe from interference.
We also want the Government to attract the support of donor countries to help us in preserving our historical monuments.
I am very happy with the achievements that I have contributed to with the support of UN Habitat and I have good memories of working with the UN. I congratulate the UN and all its employees on the 70th anniversary. The anniversary reminds me of all the good memories I have of working with the UN.
Currently were are working on two historical sites. These are the shrines Shahzada Abdullah and Shahzada Qasem, built around 600 years ago in the era of the Timoryan. The shrine buildings have the best quality tiles. Despite less development at that time they are in good shape. The shrines belong to and are registered with the historical monuments preservation office of the Ministry of Information and Culture. They have a provincial office here in Herat. They helped us when we faced problems, but as they don’t have resources to maintain these sites, we have done it. I hope they try their best to preserve these national riches.
I congratulate all UN member countries on the UN 70th anniversary.
Strong UN. Strong Afghanistan.
The UN in Afghanistan celebrates its partnership with Afghans who are making a difference for a strong Afghanistan.