AFCECO Newsletter: July 2011
Dear Friends of AFCECO orphanages,
AFCECO’s New Learning Center is in full swing and all the children in our Kabul orphanages have adjusted to the new and expansive life they are leading. It is difficult to hold back the tears of joy watching several of the children standing before an audience giving their first recital on clarinet, sitar, cello or any of a wide variety of other instruments now available to them. All programs are up and running, including chemistry, biology, physics, math, computer, humanities, English, fine arts, woodcarving, leadership workshop and of course music. Soon we hope to add more arts programs to our offerings, such as drama and photography. We are thankful to those of you who have sent resources such as books and posters for the NLC. Anyone with an old collection of National Geographic Magazines would surely make us happy if you could add this to our resource room. Along with all the activity a score of visitors has come through the NLC to experience this phenomenon unheard of in Afghanistan, including 7 journalists from various European countries wanting to report on positive events in this war-torn land.
The girls’ soccer team played their first real professional match this month, against the older and more experienced Afghan National Women’s Team. Here was an event of historic proportions in this country, the only two women’s teams battling it out as if they could have been anywhere in the world. Such an experience for the girls is unquantifiable, but you could see the magic in their faces and determination. The girls’ karate team has excelled in short order and has achieved orange-belt level in their skills. Plans are in the works now to involve them in nationwide tournaments, as they are just about ready for competition. With the soccer program, karate and the music program our girls are not only enriched, not only given skills to empower them throughout their lives, but these girls perhaps more significantly than any girls anywhere in the world are directly liberated forever from the status of meek servitude and anonymity they would otherwise face.
This summer AFCECO enjoyed having two volunteers join our team, Miriam from the U.S. and Gloria from Italy, both graduate students who were called with deep desire to make a difference for our children. They have been teaching English skills to our grade 1 through 6 boys and girls from our Kabul orphanages. They will be here for a few more weeks whereupon they move on to complete their studies. The children adore them and flock to their classes, eager to not only broaden their skills but to experience this new bit of the world beyond, coming right to their doorstep.
Ian Pounds is winding up the second semester of Leadership Workshop. This spring 14 girls participated, studying law, women’s rights and women who have historically led the way for human rights, history of great events from civil disobedience to students involved in the latest Arab uprising movements. After the children’s summer exams and vacation Ian will start up a third semester program.
Our Jalalabad and Pakistan orphanages are on their long summer break, and it is at this time many of the students come to Kabul to sit in for three months on the programs offered here. This adds great cross-fertilization of ideas and energy among the children, and creates continuity within AFCECO, a sense of all of us belonging to one big family.
Also this month the annual sojourn to the U.S. for a few dozen of the children in need of special medical attention has begun, thanks to the ongoing and trusting relationship with SOLACE for Children. Depending on what treatments are needed, the children will stay 3 to 6 weeks in America and return in time to start up classes again after summer vacation.
It is unfortunately not all good news we must share. AFCECO is experiencing a budget deficit. It is significant and if we don’t address it we may be forced to actually close one or two orphanages. This has to do with having so many children who are partially sponsored and many new children who are not sponsored at all. We are working hard to find ways to broaden our funding sources, but we really need to take this problem on directly and quickly. Serious and sizable fundraising events may be one way to tackle the problem in short order. We are open to all ideas and offers. Please let us know if and how you can help us cross this fragile bridge.
AFCECO’s New Learning Center is in full swing and all the children in our Kabul orphanages have adjusted to the new and expansive life they are leading.
Sincerely, The AFCECO staff Website:www.afceco.org Blog by Ian Pounds:http://joomtest.afceco.org/index.php/blog Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/AFCECOChildren YouTube:http://www.youtube.com/afcecochildren Flickr:http://www.flickr.com/photos/afceco