Afghanistan has been roiled in conflict and turmoil since the 1970’s. Stranded between foreign invasion and internal conflicts over resources, power and ideology, Afghanistan’s citizens are trying to steer through a labyrinth of economic and social challenges.
Consequently, Afghanistan’s GDP per capita ranks in the poorest 30 nations in the world; whereby about one third of the nation’s 35 million strong population live below the poverty line. Furthermore, deteriorating security circumstances in recent years have seen a large increase in civilian casualties leaving behind numerous displaced children. The Human Rights Commission estimates that there are as many as 600,000 street children in the country (one third of whom are orphans) with only 12,000 finding shelter in orphanages.
Despite many plans to boost nation-building, economic growth and poverty reduction efforts in Afghanistan, the dependence on large and sustained financial contributions has made this a challenge wrought with difficulties. It is this gap that we at ‘Mahboba’s Promise’, an Australian non-profit organisation committed to aiding the women and children of Afghanistan, seeks to fill. Through consistent efforts in the country since the year 2000, it has established a permanent presence in four provinces; Kabul, Panjshir, Takhar, while recently beginning operations in Badakhshan province.
The Badakhshan province is one of the most vulnerable areas of Afghanistan with poor infrastructure and harsh winters making it difficult for residents to live there. Its residents experience higher levels of poverty, and lower literacy rates than the national-average – while two-thirds of the province’s population consume less food than necessary each day.
Mahboba’s Promise focuses on facilitating education programs, accommodation, security, and well-being of orphans by establishing both orphanages and schools in the country. Most recently, Mahboba’s Promise adopted an orphanage in the capital city of Badakhshan province, Fayzabad.
This orphanage was established by another organisation with funding provided by the Asia foundation. Its purpose was to house twenty-five children, from a few months old to ten years of age, as well as providing care for one blind girl. After the initial six months, the funding from the Asia foundation ceased rendering the orphanage dependent on individual donations, an arrangement that failed to adequately cover its financial needs.
For almost six months the orphanage was operating with no sources of funding, and relying on the workers to volunteer in combination with charitable food support from the local community. The children were left in appalling conditions; sleeping on floors with no blankets, old clothes with no possibility of school uniforms or shoes being provided. The irregular food supply led to the malnourishment of many children who were too weak to eat when they finally did receive a meal.
Drawn to action by the plight of the children, Mahboba’s Promise has come to an agreement with the other organisation to transition the orphanage into the operation of Mahboba’s Promise. To act instantly, and end the suffering of the children during the holy month of Ramadan, the organisation sent a representative to the orphanage to purchase food and meet their immediate survival needs. The operational and financial support however, extends beyond the primary needs of the orphanage.
In taking over the operations, Mahboba’s Promise will cover the costs of renting the house, all operating expenses, the salaries of the teaching, administrative and operational staff. Additionally, we will also provide all necessary appliances and supplies to convert it into a standard orphanage including kitchen supplies, pillows, mattresses, carpet, stationery, school uniforms, clothes and shoes for all the children.
Our vision for the orphanage is to provide the twenty-five children with education, accommodation, security, and well-being, as well as establishing a centre in Badakhshan province from where support to all children of the community can be facilitated.
By saving these orphans, Mahboba’s Promise will also be able to assist the development of the Fayzabad community – empowering women, by educating the eight female children and through our programs, set those involved with the orphanage on the path to having a positive influence on the province in the future. We are pleased to be able to provide a sustainable future within a secure environment for these disadvantaged Afghan children.
We are looking for assistance in providing for these children. For just $100 a month, one of these children can be provided with all of their monthly food, health, education, and other needs to have a fulfilling life.
Establishing this orphanage is just one of Mahboba’s Promise’s projects. To find out more about our activities in Afghanistan or Australia, and how you can help our efforts, please visit www.mahbobaspromise.org or call us on +61 2 9887 1665.