Thirteen years ago Budd MacKenzie got off his couch and decided to do something for Afghanistan. An ordinary guy became a global citizen activist who realized we could make a difference in what was then the fifth poorest country in the world. MacKenzie, a 71-year-old lawyer, relates the remarkable story of his work helping Afghans rebuild their lives and country in a recently published book, Off the Couch, Into the War for Hearts and Minds. It is available on Amazon.com and the website www.trustineducation.org.
A “chronicle of extraordinary humanitarian efforts,” says Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns, And the Mountains Echoed. MacKenzie’s book is “a passionate cry against apathy and its insidious power,” and a “call to action to give something of ourselves to those who suffer the most and cry out the least. Not only because it is needed, or the right thing to do. But because, as Winston Churchill put it, you make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.”
In 2004, MacKenzie founded Trust in Education (TIE), a secular non-profit organization dedicated to helping Afghan families. Since that time, he has traveled to Afghanistan 20 times.
In the last 13 years, TIE has:
- served over 10,000 children, more than half girls
- constructed two schools
- provided after school classes
- established seven computer libraries
- created a student sponsorship program educating “street children”
- translated 1,000 Khan Academy math videos into Dari
- provided clothing, 1.5 million meals, 7,000 solar cookers, and water pasteurization indicators to families living in refugee camps
TIE’s latest project is producing English as a Second Language videos for children that will be available everywhere in the world, including the United States.