Celebrating sustainable communities in Áras

President Michael D. Higgins, who met with Maolíosa Ní Chléirigh, Lynne Glasscoe, Khatera Wakwaliji, Shahrzad Wardak and Catherine Kinsella at the Sustainable Communities Garden Party in Dublin.

A group of ladies from Waterford city and county were invited recently to attend the President’s Garden Party in Áras an Uachtaráin to celebrate sustainable communities.

The sun shone down on the attendees who enjoyed the many wonderful musicians playing at different spots in the beautiful gardens, prior to the reception in the marquee.

On the day, President Michael D. Higgins was introduced to Khatera Walwaliji, daughter of the most prominent civil rights activist in Afghanistan, Asadullah Walwaligi, who died during the evacuation of Afghanistan last August.

Because of the father’s high profile, Khatera’s two brothers, both educated in law at university in India and noted civil society activists in their own right, and her sister-in-law who worked at the Aga Khan Foundation, considered the most liberal of support aid organisations in the region with a mandate of supporting and educating women, are being pursued by the Taliban and are now all in hiding in Afghanistan. They are hoping to join Khatera and for her young niece to also have the opportunity to attend school once again.

The green-conscious Afghan Support Group has been working to support Khatera in her application to bring her family to safety. To highlight the plight of families fleeing war, last month Lynne Glasscoe put on a Peace Poetry Performance at Lismore Cathedral joined by poets from Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon, Ukraine, plus local poets and musicians, inspired by the poem written by Khatera’s father as an elegy to his youngest daughter, Alten Ai, who was killed by the car bomb.

Lynne Glasscoe from Lismore introducing Khatera Walwaliji from Waterford city and Shahrzad Wardak to President Michael D. Higgins, during the President’s Garden Party in Áras an Uachtaráin.

The group was invited to attend the President’s Garden Party in recognition of the work they have been undertaking to highlight the plight of Khatera’s family and others who are devastated by the many ongoing wars fracturing our world.  Members of the group who attended included Lynne Glasscoe from Lismore, Maolíosa Ní Chléirigh and Catherine Kinsella, both from Waterford city, who accompanied Khatera Walwaliji who has lived in Waterford city for seven years with her daughter and works in the health service, along with visiting Shahrzad Wardak.

All were delighted to meet with both the President and his wife, Sabina, who expressed interest in their work.