The glorious future is where our eyes are set. We see an Afghanistan needless of external help and support, we see it self-sufficient, self-sustaining and independent, able to bring prosperity and opportunity to all through its own national efforts. A lofty ideal to be sure, for a country riddled by brutal war and suffocating poverty and ceaseless disadvantage for more than 30 years, but it is an ideal that can be realized. And it all comes down to one key concept. Development.

The 21st century marked a historical shift in how we come to evaluate human development, progress and prosperity. The big new idea has been the Human Development Index as used by the UN to gauge human prosperity, as opposed to other flimsy measures such as economic growth. It is defined as “the process of enlarging people’s choices”, said choices being allowing them to “lead a long and healthy life, to be educated, to enjoy a decent standard of living”.

Mahboba’s Promise has for a long time now made that simple aspiration a key aspect of its organisation philosophy. In addition to the its schools and educational centres, it has intensely focussed on the training of women and girls, so that they could live dignified, independent lives where they could support themselves and their families and to play an active role in society. There are tailoring classes for women, just recently 30 young girls were graduated from tailoring course held under the patronage of Mahboba’s Promise. There are permaculture and farming courses. This is a practical based training for around 30 widows that enables them to learn organic farming, how to grow vegetables, how to irrigate and how to make best use of organic farming in their life. They also learn different methods of cultivation, harvesting fruits and vegetables are also part of this training. The implications for themselves and the community that they live in are enormous. Not only would they be able to sustain themselves, but they would also be a dependable source of food production in their own community. That really is the whole point of the concept development. To enable the locals to take care of their own communities.

Afghanistan requires a steadfast commitment to meaningful development. Goals should, in one way or another, help and enable the Afghans themselves to take charge of their communities and to lift themselves out of the mire of poverty and disadvantage. Every human has enormous potential and worth, he harbours a grand ability to support and sustain himself and to really help those around him. We should want to help actualize that potential.

That great era of self-sufficiency and true prosperity and opportunity in Afghanistan is beckoning at our horizon, though it’s still far away. And so with great hope and with tireless determination we will continue to work until that dawn comes.

For more information about Mahboba’s Promise activities in Afghanistan refer to the website at www.mahbobaspromise.org or call the office at 02 9887 1665.