Alum's Afghan refugee podcast featured on 'Today' show

October 26, 2021

SPIDER PRIDE

Lina Tori Jan, a 2020 graduate from Kabul, Afghanistan, was recently interviewed on the Today show with her sister about the podcast they produce — Chai wa Dastan (Tea and Tale) — which showcases the stories of refugees and immigrants from Afghanistan.

“We’re seeing people finding a sense of community and a sense of hope in each other’s messages,” she said on the show.

The initiative recently earned Tori Jan a $10,000 Davis Projects for Peace Award. Projects for Peace is an initiative supporting college students on grassroots projects that are designed to build peace.

“We are drawing on and inspired by the rich Afghan tradition of oral storytelling, where every night families come together around a pot of tea to tell stories,” Tori Jan said.

Chai wa Dastan features three projects: the CwD Podcast which focuses on stories of Afghan women; the Young Readers series, a collection of children’s stories narrated in Dari and designed to support language development for Afghan children; and the Long Story Short, a podcast focused on civic leadership.

Tori Jan’s initiative became critical in the fall as the humanitarian crisis unfolded in Afghanistan. She and the Chai wa Dastan team helped eight of her family members escape Kabul in August, including her young niece and nephew, who serve as readers for the Young Readers Series.

Tori Jan, who is completing her master’s degree from Oxford University, says her programs created a space for Afghan people to share their experiences with others.

“To my knowledge, The CwD Podcast is the first to focus specifically on Afghan ladies and their stories,” she said. “These women are often overlooked by society, and I wanted to provide a platform for them to not only share their stories and culture with a wide audience but to connect with one other, know they are not alone, and find a sense of community.”

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