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Oct 5, 2018

20K match opportunity

Dear Global Giving Donors,

We our proud to announce that the total number of children we support in Afghanistan has climbed to 300. We are feeding and protecting over 100 children in Baharak and we are feeding and processing 198 orphaned boys at a very poor orphanage in Fayzabad.

Because Global Roots is a known commidity in Fayzabad, we gained access to orphanage documents and can now make sure that no boys go missing. Global Roots is the first foreign charity ever to be granted permisson to study internal orphange documents!

We now have the opportunity to rescue roughly 190 Afghan girls from a lifetime of slavery (and worse) thanks to a matching offer of 20K from a generous family foundation in Massachusetts.

Global Roots is the first foreign charity ever invited to create a home for abandoned and orphaned girls in Afghanistan!

If we can raise funds for the match, we will launch a new Girl’s Garden with attached shelter where orphaned girls can stay until we find them a home to live in. We know the girls will be taken in because they will arrive with bags of food to feed the whole family and they will return with more at the end of every week. The Girls Garden and shelter will be located adjacent to our successful Baharak Children’s Garden. It is important to note that we have the whole community’s buy-in on this project and enough security to run it safely.

If you choose to donate to our new Girls Garden in Baharak, your donation will be added to other donations that come in. We are already at $9,000. Just $11,000 to go to win the 20K match.

We have reattached the story of a young girl we currently support in Baharak. Rabia is doing well but she needs funds for her on-going education. Our food security program is providing for her basic needs but, as you can read in the story, just getting by isn't good enough. Rabia's father died trying to save her life and she still remembers his orders for her to do whatever it takes to get an education.

We have also attached some hard data because, as Michael Bloomberg puts it, “In God We Trust, everyone else bring data." The graphs indicate the level of transparency we require of our local partner.

Even though the US military presence in Afghanistan is decreasing, our work is increasing.

We have taken it on ourselves to rescue abandoned children from the streets, shelter them and feed them until we can find them a home. The food we grow in our greenhouses, hen houses, rabbit hutches, fruit trees (300 mature trees planted in 2013!) helps us find them a home. This is a different food aid model than a "food drop". Empowering locals to engage in small-scale farming builds local community. A strong local community will be more likely to defend itself than relying upon a corrupt and self-serving central government.

2019 Oversight Mission: follow our blog when we return to Afghanistan this spring to practice oversight and launch our first Girls Garden -- the first initiative of any kind to protect orphaned and abandoned girls from abduction, rape, brainwashing and slavery in Northern Afghanistan.

Keep your eyes open for a Wall Street Journal shout out on our projects in Afghanistan.

Thank you!

Note: the upload time when we submited this report was too slow to add attachments. Please contact Rick@globalroots.org and he will email the to you.

 

Aug 9, 2018

Rescue Center for Maasai schoolgirls

early construction shot
early construction shot

Our dream is upon us: a rescue home for young Maasai girls threatened by female genital cutting.

In 2010, a young Maasai girl named Mary K ran away from her home on the morning after she learned she was to be subjected to female genital cutting and forced marriage. Mary chose to run because she wanted to stay in school. Just 13 years old at the time, Mary didn't know about the lifetime health problems associated with genital cutting -- she just wanted to study.

Mary ran seven hours through a dangerous forest above the Maasai Mara -- the northern reach of the Serengetti -- to the home of a Maasai woman who had bravely come out publically against the brutal act of genital cutting (known more commonly as Female Genital Mutilation or FGM).

Mary tells this story herself in the previous project report. She eventually fled from the woman who took her in and then relied soley on funds sent to her by GlobalRoots.org and Global Giving donors.

I (Rick of Global Roots) met Mary in 2011 and knew immediately that she was special. Now, eight years after she ran away from home, Mary is going into her final year at Teacher's College. Furthermore, she was able to marry her childhood love.

A miracle is in the works

Mary told me when she was just a little girl that she wanted to fight for the rights of young girls like herself one day. That day is already upon us! Mary and her husband Saruni have built a rescue home for threatened Maasai girls on Saruni's father's land and with a few thousand Global Roots and Global Giving donor dollars.

Mary and Saruni have given us something we've never had before: a temporary safehouse for preteen Maasai girls who are on the run from Female Genital Cutting. Global Roots currently pays for the boarding school costs of more than 42 girls across the TransMara region of Kenya but we have never had a decent backup plan should one of our girls suddenly be sent home. Our manager in Nairobi has worked hard to set up an early warning net but we've never had a safehouse to send a threatened schoolgirl to. Now we do!

Saruni and Mary will be contacted whenever one of our girls is sent home from boarding school for any reason. A team will be sent and the young girl will be brought to Mary's home where she will remain for a few days until a Global Roots partner in Kenya can help the rescued student return to school or assist her in finding support.

If we are not there to intercept, the girl will be subjected to Female Genital Cutting and forcibly sold into marriage. She will give birth to a few children and live the rest of her life as a slave making beads for tourists -- slowly dying from the cuts of her youth.

We have attached loads of photos. Like each of our community-led grassroots projects, this one is not expensive. It's hard to believe what you can get done with a few dollars when every one of them is accounted for.

We wired only $1,200 for the construction of the rescue center and we followed the project carefully. Attached are photos that we required of benchmarked construction and on-going lists of expenses.

We spent an additional amount of money on solar power ($310) and beds ($521) on our most recent supply trip (June, 2018). Photos of my time spent with Mary and her team are also attached.

This little rescue house is the talk of the town and it will soon be the talk of the region.

It's past time to end Female Genital Cutting in Kenya and everywhere else it is practiced.

Thank you for your ongoing support!

Rick Montgomery and the Global Roots team in Kenya

first list of construction costs
first list of construction costs
Mary buying solar panels
Mary buying solar panels
Mary with her twins in front of rescue home
Mary with her twins in front of rescue home
what Mary endured
what Mary endured
Saruni and Rick
Saruni and Rick
Rick and Mary long ago
Rick and Mary long ago
May 8, 2018

The story of Rabia

Rabia at 11
Rabia at 11

The Baharak Children’s Garden (BCG) continues to protect orphaned children in Afghanistan who would mostly likely be abducted and horribly exploited if left to their own devices.

We are pleased to share the real-life story of one of the 90 girls protected by the BCG. Her name is Rabia and she was orphaned two years ago when her father was killed by the Taliban. 

We are proud to have won the trust of the local community we work with in Baharak to be allowed and encouraged to share the story of Rabia with you. 

Never before has our local partner given us the go ahead to tell the story of an individual child in our program. We accept new children into our “food security” program each year and they all share heart-wrenching stories similar to Rabia’s. 

Thank you, GlobalGiving donors, for helping us feed children and build local community in war-torn Afghanistan!

The story of Rabia

Rabia is an 11-year-old girl who was born in Ghuchan village of Wardoge district. She was in third grade when the Taliban invaded her village. Rabia’s father, Omar, was a local police officer at the time of the invasion who repeatedly told his daughter she must study hard to have a better life.

“If I was educated,” Omar told Rabia before his death in 2016, “I would have become a doctor, engineer or something else that could serve the people and you better and get good income to feed you enough.”

When the Taliban invaded, Omar collected his daughter at school and fled for Baharak, the site of the BCG. Omar’s wife, per an agreed upon emergency plan, left their home, livestock and possessions and took their six-year-old son Mahmud to her brother’s house where they planned to hide from the Taliban.

Had Omar stayed, he would have been executed and his daughter would have been sold off as a war bride to foreign mercenaries or brainwashed to become a suicide bomber.

Omar and Soraya hoped that she could remain in hiding until the Taliban continued on their quest to take the major town of Faizabad. With the Taliban gone, they would return to their home, livestock and happy life.

But his wasn’t to be.

The Taliban found Soraya and Mahmud. Details are sketchy here but one thing is clear: the Taliban ordered Soraya to turn in Omar “and his gun” by morning or die. Soraya made the only decision she could: she eluded village guards to flee town at night without any possessions, holding only her frightened son Mahmud.

Soraya and Mahmud walked for hours through a war zone to reach Omar in Baharak and the family had a joyous reunion. Omar secured a rental house and a low-paying job as a local police officer. Fortunately, his reputation as an excellent police officer preceded him. Omar’s poor but happy family started a new life with no assets and less than 80 USD income per month. They were happy, however, to be alive and free from life under the shadow of the Taliban.

After a peaceful six months in Baharak, tragedy struck again. Violent fighting erupted between the Taliban and a small, tattered police force in a village just two and half kilometers from Baharak. With his family threatened again, Omar was forced to fight. Leading his small band of police officers into action, he was ambushed by a group of well-armed and well-trained “Takistani Taliban.” Omar died in a brutal fire fight.

The struggle for the survival of Rabia, Mahmud and Soraya thus began anew. In a land of constant social upheaval, there is no help for a mother like Soraya – especially if she is forced to leave the support of her clan.

Soraya managed to scrounge up enough money from her brother to continue renting the same house they had been living in but she had no money for food or anything else. Word spread across the village about Soraya’s dire situation but nobody had any level of abundance to come to her aid. Suffering is the usual state of domestic affairs in modern Afghanistan.

This is when JJ, the manager of the BCG, heard of Soraya’s plight. In a rare moment in Afghan history, the fact that Soraya had a daughter meant something! Community representatives, knowing that the BCG was designed to support orphaned girls, reached out to JJ, and he accepted young Rabia into our program.

Rabia immediately received nutrition, educational support, and, perhaps most importantly, a social life that helped take her mind off the loss of her beloved father. She learned how to grow different types of vegetables and the best ways to reap their nutritious benefits. Every two or three days she took bags of vegetables and chicken eggs home to share with her brother and mother. Even to this day, one year later, this is her family’s only food source. 

Rabia now spends three hours a day with 89 other children, working, studying and playing at the BCG. Her new hope is that Global Roots – and hopefully a future individual donor – will help her stay in school so that she can fulfil her late father’s dream.

Currently, the BCG is the only project in this part of Afghanistan that supports young girls like Rabia.

We are also looking for a sponsor for Mahmud. He is still very young and refuses to leave his mother’s side.

We are currently protecting 90 children in Baharak and 190 more in Faizabad on an annual local budget of just 20K.

Please keep an eye out for a coming feature on our work in the Asian Wall Street Journal. We will update you in our next report on this as we believe international exposure will help us to take in hundreds of more children who have been orphaned or abandoned by war.

Thank you.

Global Roots and "JJ" -- our local partner in Afghanistan.

 
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