We are pleased to report that all is going well with our Children's Garden and Foster Program for orphaned children in Northern Afghanistan.
Recently, we requested accomodation at Kabul International Air Base from the US Air Force and our request was granted by the commanding general Stephen Shepro.
GR founder Rick Montgomery and senior program manager Travis Gearhart were greeted upon arrival at Kabul International Airport on April 13 by Lt. Colonel Howard Gentry and a security team. General Shepro invited the GR representatives to dine with him and his executive team on Saturday night. This dinner provided an opportunity to discuss a wide array of topics including a shared belief that more small humanitarian projects must be initiated in the earliest stages of future low-intensity conflicts.
On Sunday Montgomery and Gearhart connected with General Assaduhla of the Afghan Air Force for an impromptu inspection of a K-12 school that the General's wife had raised funds to build. During his time with General Assaduhla Montgomery explained all of the due diligence, transparency and oversight that would be required for GR to oversee the rebuilding of the general's childhood school. Montgomery had planted the seed for the project during his first mission to Afghanistan in 2010.
On Monday, Montgomery and Gearhart met with a village elder of Baharak and two of the 50 children supported by GR's Baharak Children's Garden and foster program. Important agreements were made which will result with increased care for more orphaned children.
Review of achievements:
We are very proud that we were able to travel back to Afghanistan this year to make sure our projects are moving forward smoothly and without corruption.
Our meeting with the village leader from Baharak was so successful that we are now looking to create a new children's garden and expand our foster program network to Faizabad.
Recently we wired $4,800 to support 51 children, including ten orphans, through the cold winter. The support will be divied out by project manager Janagha Jaheed. Part of the funds were used to by boots and jackets for the ten orphans we support. Other funds will be used to buy food and books.
The winter funds were made available by our Children's Garden program. Our garden in Baharak, planted over a year ago, now sits under a layer of heavy snow. It won't bloom again until March. Because there is no need to fund a frozen garden we were able to divert the $1,685 we give every month to a three-month winter survival program.
In other developments, we are pleased to report that our friend General Assadullah of the Afghan Air Corps has asked for our help to revitalize his childhood school. We will send a team to Afghanistan in the spring to mentor the general in the realm of humanitarian giving (due diligence, oversight and overal transparency) and we will also travel north my MI 17 helicopter to inspect our projects in Baharak.
We hope to relaunch our Children's Home, the Light of Pamir, in April. The home suffered a temporary setback when a US serviceman went on a killing rampage in an Afghan village. Fortunately, after a great deal of careful communication and the example established by our successful Children's Garden in Baharak (near Tajikstan), the local cleric has once again approved our three-year old project.
As you will see from the photos below, our Children's Garden is blooming and hundreds of orphaned, abandoned or extremely poor children now have haven to visit where they can learn, heal and grow.
The vegetables from our garden are given to the children for home consumption.
We are now breaking ground on a chicken egg farm that will also be tended by the children. A handwashing station will be built next to the chicken egg farm.
We are also talking about a "Girl's Garden" where all girls who participate will receive books for school and scholarships for advanced education.
The recent slaughter of Afghan children by a US soldier created a very difficult situation for our projects in Afghanistan. After a great deal of conversation, our children's garden in Baharak -- a subset of our overal "Light of Pamir" Children's Home, was given provisional approval by the local cleric of Baharak. Vegetables will be planted this week and local children -- many of them orphaned -- will finally have a safe place to learn, heal and grow. If we can make this garden a success, we can get back to work to create a children's home where all orphaned and abandoned children can live.
The first week of January 2012 is the most important week in this history of the Light of Pamir Children's Home. Besides taking posession of a small plot of land for our first children's garden in the region, our director (Rick Montgomery) will be speaking with the regions leading Muslim clerics about the details of a plan to foster out children locally. The fostering of children -- as opposed to adoption -- is allowed under Sharia Law. Global Roots has moved very carefully in the region to protect and bring support to abondoned children. We have proven that we have come to nurture children locally -- not take them away.
Rick traveled to DC earlier this year to bring attention to the need for foster centers in Afghanistan. He spoke to the military advisors of two powerful US Senators and has been promised an audience with the commanders of the Nebraskan National Guard. Rick is personally opposed to the war in Afghanistan but, as long as US forces are in the region, he hopes that more resources can be used to support abandoned children.
Our local hero Janagha will break ground on our first children's garden in Afghanistan this spring. Stay tuned for photos and videos!
Please email us if you have any questions or if you would like to get involved! email@example.com
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