Sep 13, 2016

Winterization program: further support is needed

Photo by afghanistan-today.org
Photo by afghanistan-today.org

Dear Friends and Supporters,

We are happy to inform you that thanks to generous donations AfD successfully provided the winterization aid in Badakhshan province of Afghanistan. Households from three villages of Jurm District, who were affected by landslide, received local-made metal heaters and wood. As our local staff reported, distributed devices have significantly improved the living conditions of people in informal settlements in Badakhshan and might be used again during the upcoming winter.

For this purpose we raised 445$ on GlobalGiving platform. As the funds raised were not sufficient to implement the project we decided to join the amounts collected form another project of GlobalGiving and the amount from Geneva’s commune (which jointly made 5560 USD) and allocate them to winterization support for Badakhshan people.

In the meantime, not only families in Badakhshan need winterization support to survive the cold season. The issue of displaced population without appropriate housing is rising dramatically in urban areas of Afghanistan, as Kabul city. The winter with nighttime temperatures to -9 C (15 F) is coming in a few months.

Due to escalating war activities in Kunduz and Baghlan provinces [1] as well as increasing of returnees from Pakistan more and more people arrive to Kabul in order to find a safe place to live. Lack of access to housing & land in urban area, health services, and employment means that refugees and returnees often become displaced internally, which means a growth of their vulnerability to unstable conditions in the country [2].

As Afghan media reported, thousands of Kunduz and Baghlan residents have lost their agricultural yields and homes because of bloody clashes between government forces and the insurgency in the northern provinces of the country. “Afghan forces distributed pamphlets instructing residents to flee. Later, pro-government troops used their abandoned homes as barricades”, as afghanistan-today.com reports [3]. The resent news from Afghanistan highlights that hundreds of families in Kunduz province, especially in Khanabad district, are fleeing to safer areas in a bid to escape ongoing battles in their area [4]. One of the residents said that his family is forced to live “in the open air under the hot sun”, because his house was destroyed. People have fled their homes with nothing and the shelter is currently their main concern.

After many years spending in Pakistan, more Afghan refugees will be forced to return to their homeland. As UNHCR informed, Pakistan wants to repatriate some of the almost 1.6 million refugees living in the country. Supporting organizations had set aside funds for only 60,000 returnees [5]. Some families will return to Afghanistan after even decades in Pakistan. Some people want to return because of economic problems. However, many of these returns are involuntary. Refugees fear the violence in Afghanistan, others worry that there are no funds enough to resettle in an uncertain home country.

Most of these families will not be able to get appropriate living conditions or even a basic accommodation in the new places and will be forced to live in camps or will be placed in school buildings over winter. The aim of this winterization program is to support the displaced internally people in order to survive the approaching winter and avoid illness and deaths.

Until now, we raised 490$ for the new phase of AfD’s winterization project using GlobalGiving platform. We would like to thank those who already donated, and ask for further support to enable AfD to have a good impact this year as well we had last year.

Best regards,

Anna Lewicka on behalf of Action for Development

 

[1] For more information and news links go to: http://www.dw.com/en/taliban-capture-district-in-kunduz-province/a-19489710

[2] For more information see: http://www.usip.org/publications/2016/01/13/the-forced-return-of-afghan-refugees-and-implications-stability

[3] For more information see: http://www.afghanistan-today.org/en/articles/society/2100/

[4] For more information see: http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/26849-hundreds-of-khanabad-villagers-displaced-as-war-continues-

[5] For more information see: http://www.unhcr.org/news/latest/2016/6/576bd0a84/decades-pakistan-afghan-refugees-set-return.html

Displaced people. Photo by Tolonews.com
Displaced people. Photo by Tolonews.com

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Aug 9, 2016

Vounteers Make Great Impact

Parween Azimi discussing the trainign material
Parween Azimi discussing the trainign material

As a part time volunteer consultant, Parween Azimi, hopes to provide technical support as well as inspiration to the young disabled children and teens at the disabled school of Kabul. Parween is inspiring the kids to keep their hope for better future, through acquiring literacy and numeracy education at the school, and learning the communication language.

“It is very important to understand what they are saying as well as to make them understand what do we say”, says Parween. “good communication is key to success, and we teach these kids the sign language to enable to communicate.”

Parween Azimi worked with UNOPS, CDAP project (between 1998 to 2002), and one of her tasks was to establish a national (Afghan) sign language book, together within a team of three people: two expatriate and one afghan staff. Since then she was desperate to help deaf and blind children to escape isolation. Parween says “my mission of life is to help the disabled people in living a happy life”.

In collaboration of a team of Afghan disabled people Parween initiated classes and thought sign language to disabled as well as to ordinary volunteers, who then in turn were becoming the trainers of sing language. “I believe there is a social impact in the activity that I pursue. My students become activists for social and behavioral change. We work with the communities so that together we could bring positive and long lasting change into the lives of these disabled children.” adds Parween during our talk.   

Despite her tight schedule of working with Navision Committee for Afghanistan, and pursuing her masters’ degree, Parween visits the school every two weeks and looks through the work, helps with teaching materials, helps in translation of sign language between the school manager, and external visitors.

Parween recently organized a football match in between the boys of the higher grades, which was warmly welcomed by all the students of the school. Since the Afghanistan championship in the southeast football cup, the football is recognized as one of the important options which can bring peace and at least temporary happiness to the lives of the war-devastated country.

Parween engages the school children in various opportunities which she finds interesting and supportive i.e. sports, activities with the ministry of martyrs, any training opportunities etc. She believes that more conversations happen and more possibilities are arranged for the deaf and blind children to visit various places, their enthusiasm towards learning grows, and it helps teenagers and the younger children in discovering their own ways of problem-solving, negotiation, and understanding the external world, outside the classroom.

One of the Action for Development (AfD)’s goals is to provide education to children, and empower them in their social lives.  A great proportion of work is done by the volunteers, who share same understanding and same goals as the organization. Therefore, they commit to helping Afghan youth in improving their education and in various possible ways.  AfD provides such a valuable youth experiences due to the support from individuals who also share our vision and believe in contributions to helping build empowered generations, despite their disabilities. We would like to thank you for your contributions.

Parween Azimi, teaching session
Parween Azimi, teaching session
May 10, 2016

Thank you for your support!

For little Fereshta, it was the possibility to find peers who could communicate with her, and of course the possibility to learn reading and writing attracted her and her family to join the disabled school. Indeed, once being a student at this school Fereshta could understand others with ease and would find a different environment, where other children are also with similar disabilities. She can learn that people with disabilities are also able to overcome challenges, have friends, and be part of society. Shahgul, the mother of 9 year old girl, who lives in a poor family in Kabul, had a lot of dreams when her daughter was born. However, after some time the parents realized that Fereshta was not able to hear their voices, and as she grew up she was not able to talk. The family was poor and there was no way to afford visiting doctors and hospitals for treatment or verifications. The child was mute. She is not the only one in her family. Her sister Mina (7 years old) was also born mute.

“My neighbor once told me that there is a school for disabled children. I visited many places to find out more about it, and finally got connected to a teacher from this school. He helped me to enroll my kids” said Shahgul.  “Fereshta and Mina both of them are mute. I am a housewife, and my husband is a mason. We live in a rented flat. He does not earn much, and most of the time his earning does not cover our monthly expenses. We receive a lot of support from the school. We are happy that my daughters – although are mute – will be able to read and write. They receive their lunch in school, which is already a support for us economically. Today I was told that the food for the students is provided by donations. I am very grateful for your support. I cannot do anything else for you, but to pray and thank you for your donation and kindness.”

Action for Development (AfD) has received, 126USD on 2nd of March 2016. The schooling year in Afghanistan starts on 21st March and lasts for nine months. Kids do not attend school during the winter months. With this money we provided the 400 children of the school with a modest lunch (rice and beans) for 4 days. We thank you for your support and interest in this project. Your donations are much appreciated.

 
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