July was an intensive month for all the children due to their studying for and taking their school exams. Midterm exams finished on Monday July 25th and most of children are on holidays now for about two weeks.

New Mehan orphanage faced significant difficulties recently when the water pit in the orphanage dried out. The pit was 20 meters and we had to dig it down making it 50 meters long to make available water for the orphanage. We brought water from other places in a tank for almost a month. Fortunately after digging down the pit we have now sufficient water available.

Thanks again to the generous donation of Terry Cardwell we celebrated the birthdays of her sponsored child, Huma and several other children with July birthdays. It was Huma’s first birthday ever and you cannot imagine how exciting it was for her being able to celebrate her day. We also celebrated Samia’s birthday on July 11 thanks to her generous sponsor Jill Sheldon. Jill started her first sponsorship in July 2007 exactly nine years ago and now sponsors two children. She has each year provided her sponsored children with special birthday gifts. It’s truly amazing that we have such generous and kindhearted people in the AFCECO family. You have all been a blessing to us!

Our music students with the Afghanistan National Institute of Music-ANIM participated in two major events in Afghanistan. Their first concert was on July 17th dedicated to International Day against Drugs. This campaign was launched in Afghanistan alongside members of international community. The second concert was held at the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan-UNAMA on July 20th. The event was part of the United Nations program, He for She, launched by the Executive Director for UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. Nazira, one of our girls gave a speech on the men that have played an important role in her life.

Three of our girls are still on their tour to Estonia. They have been performing alongside other musicians from different countries making new friends from around the world. They still have to perform four other concerts in the music festival. They will leave Estonia on Monday and will arrive to Kabul on Tuesday August 2nd. Here is a link to the photo gallery of their performances: http://www.folk.ee/festival/pildid/reede/dasta-e-azada-silver-tonisson.

We are thrilled to let you know that AFCECO submitted a grant proposal to Canadian Embassy under the call Canada Fund for Local Initiatives-CFLI. We obtained this grant last year for our Winter Academy and we hope to win it this year too. I would like to express our gratefulness to Angela Schöpke and Terry Cardwell for helping us in writing the grant application. They truly put in major efforts and this can increase the possibility of the grant being accepted. If you would like to assist with the writing and reviewing of future grant applications please let us know.

We are appalled by all the atrocities that have been happening around the world and all of these incidents are truly depressing. We had a major suicide attack in Kabul on Saturday July 23rd during a peaceful protest which left at least 80 people dead and hundreds of other injured among whom most of them young university students. Fortunately no one in the AFCECO family was physically harmed but we our hearts are aching for all the victims in Germany, France, Florida and Afghanistan.