When a disaster strikes humankind, it does not discriminate between the young and old, rich and poor or strong and frail. With increasing armed conflicts and natural disasters around the world, poor nations are far more likely to suffer than the rich. These disasters directly or indirectly claim the lives of millions of innocent individuals. Those who survive, are continuously haunted down by hunger, poverty and disease. They lose their homes and become internally displaced in their own countries or flee to become refuges in foreign lands.
Afghana Foundation is committed to providing emergency relief to people in such circumstances in the shortest possible time. Our emergency relief teams focus on preventing further loss of life by providing the basic necessities for human survival such as:
- Clean water
- Temporary shelter
- Toilet facilities
- Emergency medical aid
- Mini-financial grants to families
Every emergency relief programme is unique and different based on the needs of the population and the pre-emergency assessment. A typical programme consists of food packages containing wheat, rice, vegetable cooking oil, pulses, canned food, salt, sugar, high energy biscuits, dried milk, clean water tankers and other essential items. Tents are provided as immediate shelters with toilet facilities to reduce the risk of disease. First aid, vaccines, antibiotics and other medical supplies are provided to combat the threat and spread of communicable diseases. In some cases, small grants can be made to families, who have lost their breadwinners or those who are in dire need of financial assistance.
Literacy is defined as the ability to read and write. It is one of the most basic and essential skills to live and work in the modern world. There are more than 700 million illiterate adults and about 70 million children out of school. Of the total number of children out of school, 43 million children come from war-torn countries. Conflict is one of the biggest and most difficult barriers to education. It has been reported that denying education to children during conflict can result in children being at higher risk of military recruitment, sexual violence, prostitution and contracting sexually transmitted diseases. Furthermore, they can be a destructive and destabilizing force in continuing the cycle of violence for generations.
It has also been reported that education can be a positive force towards bringing peace and preventing further conflicts. Most adults and children in poor and war torn countries, see education as a vital medium to get out of poverty and conflict.
It is in the light of such available evidence that Afghana Foundation works tirelessly to provide educational aid to children as well as adults in areas destroyed by war and poverty.
Some of the main projects that we support are as following:
- Teacher training program
- Vocational training project
- Scholarships for poor university students
- Library set up project
- Laboratory upgrading for schools and universities
- Encourage international school and university partnerships with schools and universities in war torn countries
- Provision of chairs, tables and other essentials to academic institutions
- Provision of books, uniform and other stationeries to poor students
- Computer training centres
- English language centres
- Grants for low paid teachers
- Grants for girls and poor children to increase attendance
- Construction and rehabilitation of educational infrastructure
- Community based education: importance of literacy
- Provision of study kits for students with special needs
World Health Organisation (WHO) defines health as: a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Based on this definition of health, Afghana Foundation focuses on all the different aspects of human life important to health and well being.
It is said that health is the greatest wealth in the world. This wealth is greatly compromised by war and poverty. As poor nations are more likely to suffer from armed conflict, their already weak and poor health systems totally break down in a conflict. Deaths due to direct warfare are usually out-numbered by infectious diseases, malnutrition, and lack of medications, which follows the initial violence. Afghana Foundation takes such evidence very seriously in providing medical aid to areas affected by war.
According to WHO:
- 10 million children die before the age of five, which can be avoided by simple and affordable interventions
- More than half a million women die from preventable complications in pregnancy or childbirth
- About 120 million people suffer from depression around the world
- Mental disorders, hair loss and problems with vision are the most commonest cause of disability
- Almost 20 million children are malnourished around the world
- Three out of four patients with mental health do not receive any treatment in poor countries
The number and type of aid that we provide varies significantly. Some of the main projects that we support are as following:
- Emergency medical relief clinic
- Drug addiction clinic
- Permanent/Mobile health clinic
- Medical supplies dispensary
- Obstetric, gynecological and ultrasound clinic
- Cleft palate operation
- Hematology clinic
- Eye sight project
- Disability rehabilitation clinic
- Child development and nutrition clinic
- Mental health clinic
- Laboratory/hospital equipment
- Dental clinic
- Vaccination clinic
- Traditional birth attendant training
- Rehabilitation of medical infrastructure
- Health education campaigns and events
Capacity building and community developmen
Armed conflict destroys the social, medical, legal and welfare infrastructure of a community. Afghana Foundation works with such war-ravaged communities to take responsibility in becoming self-reliable and self-sufficient. Our programmes are designed to identify the problems of the community and work with the community to overcome these problems.
Our community development and capacity building projects vary a lot but some major projects that we support are:
- Sewing machine & training
- Hair dressing training and equipment
- Carpet weaving training and equipment
- Funding local craftsmanship
- Fruit tree plantation program
- Vegetable cultivation program
- Modern farming technologies and expertise program
- Tractors per village program
- Transport for farming goods to the market project
- Goat, lamb, sheep, cow, rabbit and poultry raising programmes
- Bee colony project
- Interest free loans to small business projects
- Mini-hydroelectric power station program
- Grants for community cohesion centres (mosques, churches & temples)
- Grants for cultural and religious minorities to encourage diversity
- Provide educational and medical aid
- Women rights advocacy through male education
- Cycles for the victims of landmine
Woman and child welfare
The experience of losing one or both parents to war, poverty and disease is one of the most traumatic in a child’s life. Millions of children become orphaned each year. According to UNICEF, there are:
- 143 million orphans worldwide
- 158 million children involved in child labour
- 60 million child marriages
- 300,000 child soldiers
- 40 million children suffer from abuse and neglect
- 2 million children exploited through prostitution and pornography
- 150 million children work and live on streets
To prevent these harsh realities of life and provide an environment for such children to grow into responsible members of their communities, Afghana Foundation makes every possible effort to meet the physical, psychological and social needs of children affected by war, poverty and injustice. We provide shelter, educational aid, medical aid and food for children in our care.
The children in our care have either lost one or both parents, or the parents can not support the child due to a disability or extreme poverty. In some cases, children have lost their fathers and due to the cultural and religious restrictions on women in the society, mothers can not work or look for support openly in the community. In these cases, we provide vocational training to the mother and provide financial support for the child to meet the needs of the family.
The different programmes set up to support orphans, unaccompanied child refugees and street children are:
Orphanage based programme
Afghana Foundation aims to work closely with partner organisations to support the Imam Bukhari Orphanage in Jalalabad (Afghanistan), which is the biggest orphanage in the South of Afghanistan with about 500 orphans.
Family based programme
Afghana Foundation is currently supporting 25 orphans through family based programme. These children have lost their fathers to the current war and live with their mothers in their family houses provided by uncles or other relatives.
Unaccompanied refugee children programme
This program is mainly run in Britain and America, where unaccompanied refugee and asylum seeking children are helped through education and psychological support to integrate into society. We offer advice on health, education, accommodation and social security benefits as well as holding leisure activities for children to get to know other children from similar backgrounds and improve their physical and psychological health.
Water and sanitation
As wisely said by the Nobel Prize winner biochemist Szent-Gyorgyi “ water is life’s mater and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water. There are over a billion people deprived of this very essential medium of life and 1 in every 5 people have no access to clean water. In countries destroyed by war and poverty with weak healthcare systems, lack of clean drinking water and water for irrigation means fighting a whole new war against infectious diseases and famine. This can have detrimental consequences for human survival.
We support the following projects to provide clean drinking and irrigation water:
- Rehabilitate old wells
- Dig new wells for drinking and irrigation
- Water purification systems programmes
- Rain water harvesting project
- Water tower project
Advocacy and campaigning
Victims of torture compensation campaign
Thousands of torture victims have disappeared in Afghanistan over the last three decades. These innocent victims are usually tortured by corrupt governments, mafia groups and terrorist organisation in a country with poor human rights records and weak legal systems, which makes it almost impossible for them to come forward and file cases against those responsible for these inhumane treatment of innocent civilians. These innocent individuals released after years of detention and torture suffer from severe physical and mental disorders. Their families are broken down and their children traumatized.
Afghana Foundation feels very strongly about the treatment of such innocent individuals and will be trying to bring about as much comfort into their lives as possible. We will be campaigning for justice, compensation and aid for such innocent victims of torture and imprisonment.
Control Arms Campaign
Thousands of people are killed, injured, raped, and forced to flee from their homes as a result of the unregulated global arms trade. The Control Arms campaign, run by Amnesty International, Oxfam and IANSA is calling for a global, legally binding agreement – an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), to ease the suffering caused by irresponsible transfers of conventional weapons and munitions. Afghana Foundation supports and works hard to campaign for the Control Arms Campaign.