Provide Care for Afghanistan's Abandoned Children

by Global Roots
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Provide Care for Afghanistan's Abandoned Children
Provide Care for Afghanistan's Abandoned Children
Provide Care for Afghanistan's Abandoned Children
Provide Care for Afghanistan's Abandoned Children
Provide Care for Afghanistan's Abandoned Children
Provide Care for Afghanistan's Abandoned Children
Provide Care for Afghanistan's Abandoned Children
Provide Care for Afghanistan's Abandoned Children
Provide Care for Afghanistan's Abandoned Children
Provide Care for Afghanistan's Abandoned Children
Provide Care for Afghanistan's Abandoned Children
Child selection
Child selection

A note from Rick Montgomery, founding director of Global Roots

In 2019 we were forced to close down a food security program that had previously helped hundreds of orphaned children find loving families to take them in. Despite early success, we eventually faced so many threats that we could not continue to operate the program in good conscience.

Many children suffered when we closed the program down.

All of us at Global Roots were deeply distressd about what would become of the children who had been sopping up every opportunity we gave them -- not to mention taking food home from our gardens and dairy farm to feed the families that took them in.

We are pleased to report that after a long period of negotiatiing with our new landlords, we were granted approval to relaunch the Baharak Children's Garden

We took a chance to cultivate land and lease a building while we were waiting for approval and our gamble paid off. By the time we were allowed to begin selecting children to take part in the program (see photo: child selection), we already had a massive amount of produce blossoming in our three-acre Children's Garden (also referred to as the Small Scale Farm Baharak).

What's more, after a recent a visit from a Taliban group who checked on our activities, we now know we can share photo and video images of our work on social media without fearing some kind of backlash.

In a world that is currently so dominated by so much bad news, we are happy to tell you that your donations are making a miracle happen in Afghanistan!

We have attached several photos below and a link to videos as well.

Global Roots wins local status

We are pleased to announce that we have achieved something we thought would be impossible last year. The Taliban has approved the creation of a local charity that is staffed by the same amazing local Afghans who have managed Global Roots projects in Afghanistan for many years. The organization is called Global Roots for Life (see photo: approval). I am particularly pleased (and somewhat shocked) that I (Rick Montgomery, the founder of Global Roots) am allowed to sit as a board member on a local Afghan charity! As a board member, I will able to guarantee a great deal of oversight and transparency to prospective donors.

This is a very big development because now, for the first time, major international relief organizations can fund our work in Afghanistan directly. Most major aid outfits are required by their bylaws to fund projects directly in the country where the relief is needed, not through a third party. 

A note to GlobalGiving donors from Sama, an eleven year old orphaned girl who has never attended school and was selected for this program. 

Sama requested the opportunity to thank GlobalGiving donors for "helping her to go to school". Our Children's Garden has an educational element (click the link to the video below: "classroom time") that Sama loves. As an orphaned girl, this is the first time she has ever been exposed to a classroom setting and she is loving it!!

"Thank you Global Roots donors. I am in love with learning. May peace be with you." Sama.

We are so proud of Sama and the other 69 participants in our program.

We are hoping to add 70 more children to our program in few months when we create a new Children's Garden in the destitute Badakhshan village of Wardoge.

Thanks again for your donations!!

crop distribution
crop distribution
classroom joy
classroom joy
approval
approval

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The Baharak Children's Garden (BCG) in its hey day
The Baharak Children's Garden (BCG) in its hey day

We are happy to announce the relaunching of our most famous project in Afghanistan: the Baharak Children’s Garden or "BCG“.

From 2011 until we were forced to shut it down in 2019, the BCG helped hundreds of orphaned children find a home because the children arrived with food grown at the BCG.

In a time of war, the BCG served not only as a food security program, but also as a place where family-less children could socialize and feel a sense of belonging.

We are grateful to all of the GlobalGiving donors who have funded our work in Afghanistan over the years.

Recently, the Northern Taliban granted us provisional authority to relaunch the BCG!

The children we accept in our program live on the outside of Afghanistan's clan-based society. Many children are stragglers who have been taken in by distant relatives who don't have enough for to feed their own children. 

There are millions of children who can't go to public schools when and if they reopen, simply because they live with families who don't have the funds to buy clothing and books for them.

Now that the snows have mostly melted in and around Baharak, we have started to plow the earth on newly leased land and „reassemble“ our team of gardeners, educators and social workers.

Our new food security program is called Baharak Small Scale Farm (BSSF) and it will serve widows and children who were forsaken by years of war.

Main goals of the BSSF:

  1. Reduce poverty
  2. Reduce hunger
  3. Create opportunities for jobless people
  4. Reduce domestic violence
  5. Reduce forced and early marriages
  6. Prevent dangerous work for destitute children, especially street peddling for girls.

How it works:

The BSSF empowers orphaned children and poor families through the creation of a multi-faceted community vegetable garden, chicken egg farm and education center.

Besides food, the BSSF creates educational, social and work opportunities for the people of Baharak, especially young women. A vast array of agro-economic activities and educational programs provide all participants with key tools that help them to build a better life for themselves and their families. Poor and orphaned children receive daily meals, lessons and a safe place to socialize with new friends.

This program fills a dangerous void in post-war Baharak society. Orphaned children and widows desperately need the nutrition and educational support that the BSSF brings them.

Below, photos 1 and 2 show the BCG in its hey day. Photos 3 shows the land we have leased and have started to work, photo 4 shows the location of our new farm and school,

We have achieved the following milestones this month (March, 2022)

  • We coordinated with the Department of Economy in Badakhshan and with the Ministry of Economy and Ministry of Social and Labor Affairs in Kabul.
  • We received the first installment of $2,550 from Global Roots in the USA
  • We selected and rented a 0.5 hectare of arable land for one year for 40,000 af ($500) for the project. We will use a basin irrigation system, so no need for water pump or generator.
  • We rented a building for our office and for holding an agricultural school for children. The children will visit their garden one day per week and they will be trained (and socialize) at the school the rest oft he week. The distance between the garden and school is 5.75 km. We will use a bus for student movement.
  • One project manager, one project admin and one lead gardener were recruited before starting the project activities at the beginning of March. The rest of the team will be staffed in April.
  • Land break up and plowing has been accomplished and vegetable seeds have been purchased in Kabul. 

The BSSF is one of two projects that Global Roots has reinitiated in Baharak in recent months. Our vocational school for orphaned girls, launched in 2020, has reopened in both Faizabad and Baharak serviing a total of 50 girls. We will update you on the progress of our vocational schools in our next report. 

GlobalGiving Donors, we thank you for your support!

We would like to dedicate the BSSF project to our lead officer on the ground in Afghanistan "Wahaj"

Wahaj, without your leadership, hard work and negotiation skills with the Taliban, this project would not be happening.

We love you Wahaj!!

Orphaned girls collecting their BCG crops
Orphaned girls collecting their BCG crops
Baharak Small Scale Farm -- our new land!
Baharak Small Scale Farm -- our new land!
Location of the farm and our new school
Location of the farm and our new school
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Sama and her siblings
Sama and her siblings

If you have been following this program, you know that Global Roots made a name for itself in Afghanistan by growing food that orphaned children used to find loving foster homes. We launched an assortment of food security programs from 2010 until one of our managers told us that our main project (a giant "Children's Garden that over 300 children would visit several times a week) was too close to a Taliban stronghold and that they could "come anytime they want to take our children."

We realized in early 2020 that we should shut down our "Children's Garden" and use 2020 funds to create a vocational school for orphaned girls in a much larger city that we assumed the Taliban would never take.

We were wrong. The Taliban took the city last summer and we were forced to close down our new school to protect our girls.

Fortunately, however, one of our local managers worked up the courage to visit a Taliban commander. The manager in question is the main hero of our story. He knew not to talk about our vocational school. Instead, he pleaded with the commander to let Global Roots deliver hens to poor widows and their children and help them to launch their own poultry businesses.

One little girl (see photo entitled "Sama") says her family's diet is more delicious and healthy now that her mother can cook with chicken eggs. Sama says that she had fun building a new home for her hens and she is grateful to "whoever did this" because she and her family was lonely and scared. Now they have money from the eggs they sell to buy things they could not afford previously, such as underwear and medicine.

The program went so well that the Taliban commander gave us the provisional authority we would need to relaunch our successful vocational school for orphaned girls (see photo entitled "our girls").

It has taken us time to think of the best way to tell this story to the world and we think it's best to just tell it here on GlobalGiving.

There are certainly those inside the commander's organization who would not agree with what he is allowing to happen.

If you want more info, please contact our executive director at rick@globalroots.org

Thank you GlobalGiving donors for your support!! We have only just begun....

Stand by for more reports in the next few weeks.

our girls at school (last week!)
our girls at school (last week!)
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our boys and their produce!
our boys and their produce!

Dear Global Giving donors,

After more than ten years of growing food in Afghanistan and using the food to help orphaned and abandoned children find foster homes, it is time to change the way we do things. The threat of the Taliban targeting our children is too great for us to consider expanding our current model.

The Baharak Children's Garden (BCG) is doing very well but it is located just 15 Km from a Taliban stronghold and we are told the invastion could come any day.

Thanks to Global Giving donations, we have set up an evacuation fund that will be tapped the minute we hear of a Taliban advance.

We have attached a photo of a young Afghan girl who will be swept up by the Taliban if we don't get out quickly.

Please emal us to hear the testimony of "Taya". In a video that we just received, Taya speaks out against guns. She does this with poetry!

To protect Taya and the other 300 children who rely on us, we have to find another, safer way to protect children!

Introducing: Small Scale Farms, Afghanistan

Global Roots launched a pilot project in Africa last spring called “Small Scale Farms Ltd” and we are looking to replicate it in Afghanistan in 2020. Our founder has already described the new program to our local partner in Afghanistan and everybody is on board.
The new plan calls for our local partner to unite Afghan farmers with a free SMS-based app that will be provided at no cost. Because it is not HTML-based, farmers don't need a smart phone. Instead, they can use their flip phones to text our team when they have produce that is ready to be picked up. Our team will pick up the produce, take it to market, sell it and then immediately text each farmer his or her commission.
We call this growing roots right under militant boots!
Our small-scale farms pilot program went so well in Kenya this year that we am now certain it will work everywhere — even in places where militant groups exploit and intimidate farming communities.
Small Scale Farms takes a systemic approach to change — rather than the child-by-child formula we have been applying at the BCG and FCG. 
The great news is that the excess produce that we are already producing at the BCG and FCG can be collected, sold and the resultant funds can be spent on the basic needs of our children!
BTW — we are not as much concerned about the agribusiness threat in Afghanistan as we are about bringing help to families who struggle to take care of their children as well as “stragglers” (abandoned or orphaned children) in any given community.
Please contact us if you would like year-end report on the BCG and FCG: info@globalroots.org
Thank you for your ongoing support! With your help we will "start growing roots right under militant boots!"
Taya, the poet
Taya, the poet
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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.

 

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Global Roots

Location: Lake Forest Park, WA - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Rick Montgomery
Lake Forrest Park, WA United States
$10,832 raised of $25,000 goal
 
189 donations
$14,168 to go
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