One of the ways we can help Afghan families is to go through our closets, drawers and storage boxes and give what we no longer need to them. If we have one thing in this country that’s plentiful, it’s stuff. There is considerable debate over the merits of redistribution of wealth. There is virtually no argument over the merits of redistributing stuff.
Trust in Education has collected and distributed over 30 tons of clothing and 200,000 meals to families living in refugee camps, orphanages, street children and villages. Our goods fly free on military aircraft from California to Kabul, thanks to the Denton program, administered by USAID and the military. For a list of the recommended donations see Recommended Donations.
Trust in Education collects donations in several ways:
- Periodically we hold packing parties where people can bring their donations to the party. Over 75 volunteers sort and pack the donations into boxes. It’s amazing how many people come and how many thousands of pounds we are able to sort and pack in a day. If you are on our newsletter email list, you will be notified of the packing parties. To join the list, visit Request our E-newsletter.
- Other organizations hold clothing drives, and their boxes and bags are transported to our warehouse. Get Involved. Organize a Clothing Drive
- Organizations hold collection and packing parties in other parts of the country. For example, Stop Hunger Now, assisted by Reverend Billy Olsen, his congregation, and volunteers from the Seymour Johnson military base in South Carolina, packed and sent two shipments of enriched rice packages (enough for over 200,000 meals) which TIE distributed in 2009 and 2010. In 2011 these volunteers also shipped a huge shipment of clothing that we were able to distribute to well over 1,000 families living in refugee camps. Soles 4 Souls also donated shoes included this shipment.
- Businesses donate goods. One Million Lights donated solar flashlights, Maclaren donated 1,000 backpacks, the Sports Basement donated soccer shoes and equipment, and John Muir Hospital contributed walkers, crutches, and wheelchairs. Two law firms in San Francisco–Farella Braun & Martel LLP and Hanson Bridgett LLP–donated computers when they upgraded their own computers. We received over 90 computers from these two law firms for the computer classes TIE supports.
After the Denton programs ships the goods (on a space available basis), they are distributed out of our office in Kabul. The poorest of the poor are selected by our teachers, village and refugee camp leaders. Those chosen are transported to our office to make their selections, and then they return home on buses we provide. This system minimizes the security problems encountered by bringing trucks loaded with donations to where they live.
We encourage and often require families to send a woman. Not only are they better at making choices for the entire family, they are able to “get out.” As you probably already know, a woman’s ability to be away from home is often very restricted. These outings are fun and our stuff is, in the words of one young Afghan woman, “Beautiful!”