All posts by Lisa


After 10 years, the girls school in Afghanistan, supported by Baraka Foundation,  has graduated its first students.

Eight girls finished high school this month, at the end of the academic year.

Five of them will sit for university entrance exams. Higher education in Afghanistan is free by a provision in the constitution.

A book scholarship fund will be set up for those who do go on to university.

[The girls were not photographed by request of their families.]

Baraka Foundation and its founder, Lisa Schnellinger, have been raising money for the school since 2003. Among the girls graduating are several who have attended since that time.


Suicide attack blasts school windows

Sad news: All the windows at the girls’ school were broken on Dec. 2 from shock waves when a truck laden with explosives blew up in front of a nearby military complex.

The insurgent attack took place on a Friday, the day off, so none of the students or teachers were injured. But dozens of civilians closer to the blast were hospitalized with injuries, and district officials estimated that the blast caused some $700,000 in damage to area buildings.

The school is just down the road from the provincial headquarters of the multinational security force. Full details of the blast can be read by clicking here.

We hope to replace all the windows – this time, with blast-proof tape to prevent injuries – at a cost of about $1,200.

Very special gifts

It’s not too late to buy a hand-embroidered Afghan shawl or purse for your favorite person!

Ten pashmina shawls and five cotton shawls are still available – as well as six pillow covers, eight pouches, four jewelry rolls and five clutch purses.



Use the contact form to order.

Pouch detail

Bent Tree focuses on Afghanistan

Lisa Schnellinger gave a presentation to the Bent Tree Shutterbugs, a photography club, on Nov. 16.

The group of about 20 saw her photos from “Beyond the Mountains” exhibit, and handled samples of the satin fabric prints done specially for the exhibit by John Seibel Photography.

Attendees also purchased $150 in Afghan textiles. “I’m so happy to support this school,” said one buyer.

Lawrenceville women support school

The Lawrenceville Women’s Club embraced the girls’ school in Afghanistan at their Nov. 3 meeting.

Cheryl Harewood, chair of the service club’s International Department, heard about the school project and arranged for the handmade Afghan textiles to be sold at the meeting.

Members bought $524 worth of textiles and soaps to support it.

They also wrote personal postcards to the girls:

“I will be praying for you from Lawrenceville Georgia,” wrote one donor. “Remember you matter.”

Janice L. wrote, “I’m so proud to be a part of your school. Every time I use my beautiful pouch I will think of you.”







A little book


From Lisa:

It’s really hard to thank certain people….like my sister and her husband, who have been the biggest supporters of the school, and actually traveled to Afghanistan as visitors to see the village and meet the school principal.

And like Barbara Maslyk, who sponsored annual benefit sales for the school at her store, keeping nothing for herself.


But one way to thank them was to share the story of the school in a book form – so that they could show their own friends.

I made this small book – and you can view it online by clicking here.


Voices on the Rise in Brussels

Real Afghan women – in media, politics and culture. That’s the simple theme of this international exhibit, now in its fifth year:

Voices on the Rise: Afghan Women Making the News provides a look into the lives of Afghan women journalists, producers, managers, writers, photographers, filmmakers, human rights activists and parliamentarians. The photographs were first exhibited in Canada in October 2006; since that time, Afghan women have been battling increasing uncertainty, juggling newly-found freedoms with traditional responsibilities at home, and struggling with the ghosts of their country’s harrowing past and its on-going conflicts.

Several of the portraits in the exhibit, including one featured on the promotional poster (above), were taken by Lisa Schnellinger.







Show opens in Blue Ridge

“Beyond the Mountains” has opened at the Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association in downtown Blue Ridge, GA.

The exhibit has been redesigned to accommodate the spacious main gallery, which is a former courtroom. Photos are suspended from a spoke arrangement of wires to take advantage of all the available light.


Lisa also has added three prints that were not shown at Sharptop Arts Association in Jasper last summer – two satin portraits, and one aerial landscape.


She also incorporates numerous hand-embroidered textiles directly into the exhibit. The goods are for sale to support a girls’ school in Afghanistan.

The exhibit is sponsored by John Seibel Photography of Dawsonville.


Featured on Martha Stewart

A handmade bag from Zardozi was featured on the Martha Stewart “Giving” show on Wednesday Dec 22.
One of Martha’s guests was Betty Londgren, who wrote about Lisa’s work with the girls school in Afghanistan on her “What Gives 365” blog.
The show also showed photos of the school during that segment.
The bag is made from six separate sections, each embroidered by a different family in the village where they are sewn. It is designed to carry jewelry, but can also be used as a wallet.
Watch the video here:

Betty Londergan Interview on Martha Stewart! from Betty Londergan on Vimeo.