Long time no report. My apologies. I’ve been in Montana vegging. No, not eating them, just fixating on the blue skies, farmland, cattle, deer, rivers and lakes. If you’ve been to Glacier National Park, you’ll understand.
There is considerable debate among aid organizations regarding what to do with the estimated 35,000 people living in refugee camps in Kabul. They are victims of what one author described as a “pitiless Catch-22 policy” established by international humanitarian aid providers” (click HERE for New York Times article). The World Food program stopped providing food to the camps last year. What’s the catch? I’ve extracted some information from the article to save you some time.
The camps do not qualify for development aid because they are viewed as temporary facilities– and many Afghan officials oppose their presence. On the other hand, because the camps have been in a state of “chronic emergency” for a long time, most aid donors view that, as, by definition, no longer a humanitarian crisis. “People seem to think you can’t call it an emergency if it has been going on for 10 years, but it is, said Julie Bara of Solidarities International, a French aid organization.”
While the debate waged on, the refugee families just endured the coldest January in 20 years. Most nights dropped below 20 degrees. Not everyone survived. Over 22 children living in the camps in Kabul died last month. According to a recent survey taken, one out of every seven children living in the Kabul camps will not survive until his or her sixth birthday.
Pictured above and below are buckets of rice donated by Stop Hunger Now and packed by TIE volunteers, that were distributed last week to children selected by TIE’s teachers. They chose students coming from the poorest families living in their villages. It’s not easy selecting the poorest among the poor in the 7th poorest country in the world. Our teachers disappoint more than they please in this process.
This week we will be distributing rice and clothing to several hundred families living in refugee
camps in Kabul and to the 76 street children’s families sponsored through TIE. It’s not difficult to know where we come down in the debate. Surely there must be a solution to eliminating the camps that does not allow children to starve and freeze to death.
Thanks again to all of you who donated and packed the rice and clothing. Yes, we will have another packing party, sometime in June. Date, place and time to be announced later. Plan your clothing drives for May. According to Stop Hunger Now, there will also be more rice to pack.
Sitting in my heated office I remain, ever more grateful,
ps This last 30,000 pound plus shipment through the Denton program included enough rice for 120,000 meals for over 850 families. Using an average of 8 members per family that’s over 6,600 people! Our reach continues to grow thanks to an ever increasing number of supporters. Join us! In the war for hearts and minds you can’t beat people to people exchanges.
Wish List 2012
- Additional teacher $1310 year
- Supplies per class $300 year
- Computer class $3000 1st year
- English class $1500 year
- Advanced English program $5000 year
- Desks per class $1500
- Desks per school $15000
- Soccer team $750 year
- Soccer field $1500
- Playground equipment $1500
- Volleyball court $300
These are some of the items that the Afghan villagers have decided are their priorities for 2012. If you are interested in funding one of them, let us know! Call 925 299 2010 x2 email meri (at) trustineducation (dot) org. We want to help you make some dreams come true for Afghan families.
Michelle Toy and Brent Cannon of NBC interview Budd about the work of Trust in Education in spring of 2008.
Though several years old, this Emmy-nominated video does a great job of showing why the work of Trust in Education is so important .
As “The Girl Effect” so aptly describes, educating girls makes a big difference to society in the long run:
* When a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children.
* An extra year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10 to 20 percent. An extra year of secondary school: 15 to 25 percent.
* A higher level of schooling among mothers leads to better infant and child health.
Trust in Education is all about giving the girls (and boys) in Afghanistan a chance.
TIE Video made by Marie McCoy-Thompson, age 17 (Girl Scout Gold Award project)
What can be more valuable than opium to Afghan farmers?
Poplar trees! When the trees are mature, poplar wood fetches a great price, especially with the high demand for buildings and bridges as Afghanistan rebuilds. Even as they are growing, poplar trees can produce cuttings, which can be sold to other farmers interested in a this valuable crop.
Trust in Education partnered with Global Hope Network International so Afghan villagers could have access to this valuable resource. Trust in Education found two farmers who were eager to participate in the program. Global Hope Network Internationl donated 8,000 poplar tree cuttings to each farmer. Over the years, as the trees grow, the farmers will donate cuttings to the program so other farmers can start their own woodlots. They will also be able to sell cuttings so they have a guaranteed income each year. Then, in six years, the trees can be harvested and the valuable wood sold. So with guaranteed income for the first few years and a big payout when they are harvested, poplars are a win-win.
In some ways, the program is helping Afghans reclaim what was lost to war. Afghanistan used to have many trees, but the Soviets and Taliban cut them down to eliminate hiding places. And the struggling population cut down most of the rest for firewood, so that only 2 percent of the country is forested today. Our poplar program is a small step to reforest the land and provide a livelihood for its people. And these puny poplar sticks will eventually become Afghan homes.
Wheat is Afghanistan’s staple crop, so if farmers grow a lot more from their seed, they will greatly increase their ability to feed themselves. Thanks to Nabi for this seed and to the farmers who were willing to take a risk and try something new when their livelihood was at stake. Now we know another surefire way to help.