Kids4AfghanKids9936 Hambleton Livonia, MI 48150www.kids4afghankids.org
Our Dearest Friends,
We simply cannot believe it is already the end of 2015! It seems like 2015 was on fast forward, and we zoomed right through it… Even so, we have accomplished so much! Primarily, through your support, we have been added to Global Giving’s website and are continuing to raise money there. This year alone, we raised more than $6,000 just from Global Giving! You can visit out page with this link: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/help-support-kids-4-afghan-kids-schools/.
We have also participated in another online fundraiser. This one is called GoodShop, and its plan is simple and effective. People simply create an account, and shop online through GoodShop. For every 25 dollars spent, GoodShop will donate 10 dollars to the shopper’s chosen charity. You are saving on gas by shopping online and supporting a wonderful cause at the same time!
Another thing we wanted to share with you is our original name, MASHA. MASHA stands for Multiethnic Afghan Schools and Humanitarian Assistance. Our Global Giving account has MASHA as its project name, and we want to share with you the origins of its name. The word “masha” means “phoenix” in Pashto, one of two official Afghanistan languages. We chose phoenix specifically, because back when we were founded in 1998, the Taliban’s power in Afghanistan was at its highest, resulting in ubiquitous violence and turmoil. Our organization sought to shed light during the darkest night, and a phoenix rises from ashes, reborn, into a splendid symbol of hope and the bright future.
It is truly the season of giving, and Amazon’s brilliant charity program, Amazon Smile, donates 0.5% of the cost of participating items to a charity of your choice the entire year! All you have to do is log into Amazon, go to Amazon Smile, and search for “Masha Inc.” located in Livonia, Michigan. Once you select Masha Inc, Amazon will donate 0.5% of your total bill to K4AK. Thank you for your continued support!
Another important announcement is our upcoming Empty Bowls charity event sometime in March of 2016. We will post the finalized date on our website. This event is one of the most impactful activities we run. Every family arrives to eat a meager dinner meal that simulates what our children eat in Afghanistan. The meal consists of a simple soup and bread, which is insignificant compared to the average American dinner. Many Afghan children go to bed hungry. To remind every attendant of the nutritional uncertainties children everywhere in the world face, we sell handmade ceramic bowls to remember all the empty bowls around the world. Please attend this event and continue to fund meals for the children so they do not go to sleep starving.
We recently had our Alternate Christmas Fair, where we sold chocolate covered snacks and Afghan embroidered shirts and scarves. From this event we raised about $720. In September, we held our Northville Victorian Festival booth, where we sold drinks and snacks, and raised another $600. Northville High School volunteers also helped handicrafters load and unload their equipment and sale items during Northville Michigan's fall and winter Handcrafter Art and Craft Shows. The students then donated their tips - more than $800 - to K4AK. During the Victorian Festival weekend was the Tour de Ville. Because the event sponsored numerous different charities, we have not received word about how much we will receive. Lastly, we have decided to move our traditional fall Hoedown to sometime in spring because we were very busy with all the end-of-year events this year.
This school year, after final testing, we had 98 boys graduate high school! Eight boys who graduated this year will go to Kabul University next year if we can get our dorm house ready. Speaking of colleges, Afghanistan currently does not have any community colleges. This means the other graduates either must find a college outside Afghanistan, or compete for spots in Afghanistan’s larger urban universities. We would like to change that by building a community college to meet the needs of the 2 million people living in the Wardak, Logar and Ghazni provinces of Afghanistan. This community college will have three separate two story building on campus, and each level of each building will be devoted a different subject. Compared to American community colleges, this will be very small, but it is a good first step that we hope will eventually flourish into a large and prestigious college. If you would like to help with this project, please let us know. It is a major capital fundraising venture. It is important to continue our current work and raise additional funds for the community college.
Another addition to the village, based on our vision and mission, is a literacy center for our students. This literacy center will have books, educational films, a projector, and a room with a whiteboard. We will also plan to have a meeting room with a large table for community discussions. Because the literacy center will take time and money, we project it will be completed in the next 10 years and will require around $90,000. Although American students most likely take these supplies for granted, having this literacy center would benefit everyone, child and adult.
School life in Afghanistan still goes on as usual. Our students attend classes six days every week with Friday off. The teachers in Afghanistan receive around $85 each month, whereas United States minimum wage equates to $870 per month, over ten times the Afghan teachers’ salaries. Luckily, Afghanistan’s government occasionally provides $30 for each of the teachers’ salaries. Household lives in Afghanistan vary drastically compared to the United States. The girls help mix a sturdy mud-like concrete to patch the traditional houses, and the boys help with family gardens, which include small harvests of leafy greens. The village has running water from a deep well, but still lacks electricity. The village has a second farm about four hours away by car, where we grow more temperate crops, such as grapes, pomegranates, and figs. The orphans tend to the gardens at the project after school hours.
Lastly, we hope to build a satellite campus four hours north of the current village. This campus will allow our project to help more people and, more importantly, will allow increased flexibility. We have had many years of local peace, however, we need to prepare for emergencies. If endangered, we would evacuate all the students and teachers to the other campus. We decided we need this second campus after the events of the earthquake that shattered northwestern Afghanistan in October 2015. The earthquake ranked 7.7 on the Richter scale, and killed at least 300 people. Luckily, our village was 300 miles away from the epicenter, and no one was hurt. Unfortunately, the earthquake weakened the structural integrity of buildings and after assessing the damages, we had to repair and replace damaged walls.
Another reason for us to get a second location is to maintain the safety of our girls. Due to unrest this year we closed our girls’ high school early. Fortunately our village elders value the safety and security of our students and through many negotiations secured the reopening of the girls’ high school when the next school year begins in March. One of our goals is to nurture acceptance in the world. Thank you for supporting us in our goal to make the world a better place not only for our children in Afghanistan but everyone!
Thank you for all you do to bring hope to children!
High School Student AmbassadorKids 4 Afghan Kidswww.kids4afghankids.org
P.S. A full color copy of this letter, along with color photos of the project is attached.