Summer 2017 Update
As summer draws to a close in Afghanistan, our students continue to shine. In the midst of preparing for upcoming exams, the children enjoyed the Eid al-Adha celebration together with classmates, receiving a customary small monetary gift (known as an “Eidee”) with the help of OWA, our partner organization, and earned a well deserved break from their studies. We are extremely proud of their achievements. They are tackling disciplines as diverse as Math, English, Dari, Computers, and Religious studies. Many of our young students are the first ones in their family to formally attend school. They now have an opportunity to build better lives for themselves and their communities in a country where most people face an uncertain future.
With your help, we’re making a variety of improvements at the Homaira Rahman School and at the HRF Learning Center – including the purchase of new computers and other essential equipment and materials for the labs and libraries. By supplying those resources you are directly improving the quality of the education that these vulnerable children receive.
In rural Afghanistan, where it is next to impossible for kids to receive an adequate education, we just made a donation to a camp for internal refugees to help with basic needs. We also extended financial assistance to Sana Orphanage in Kandahar, which has more than 50 orphans in its care.
It is your continued generosity that helps us give marginalized boys and girls the support system they need to stay in school and bolsters the opportunities for future growth. It’s a huge impact that will endure for years to come.
Kabul Spring 2017 Report
For the students of the Homaira Rahman School, the new school year which began in April 2017, signals fresh starts and exciting opportunities. It’s always an exhilarating occasion, with the arrival of first-time students and familiar routines. HRF President Roya Rahman, who just returned from Kabul, was on hand to greet the kids for their first day back to classes. She visited the school every day over the course of the first week and purchased supplies (notebooks, pens, pencils, etc.) thanks to the generosity of our donors, particularly Yusef and Arya Maftoon, two young students in the US who thoughtfully organized a fundraiser for that purpose. Ms. Rahman was also able to coordinate an “Ice Cream and Candy” Day, much to the delight of our students, thanks to another loyal supporter, Rohyna Nashir. We continue to be amazed and moved by the compassion exhibited by our supporters who ultimately provide the resources so that underprivileged children can enjoy memorable moments and have a chance at a brighter future.
While at the school, Ms. Rahman spent some time with each student, hoping to connect with them (she learned very quickly that English is a favorite subject with most of the kids!) and trying to attend to their various needs. It was a very emotional experience for her, but she was buoyed by their resiliency and enthusiasm – and particularly struck by how well prepared the staff was for the start of the school year, setting a high bar for teaching and learning. (Total enrollment stands close to 100 students in grades 1-6, which is full capacity.) She inspected the school grounds and noticed that certain walls could use a fresh coat of paint, dust had settled on some classroom floors and the kitchen needed some touching up. The school’s maintenance supervisor promptly took care of those issues. In addition, Ms. Rahman attended a few classes, observing the students reading aloud from books as their teachers conducted the lessons from the chalkboard, and watched in amazement as groups of students huddled in pairs around desktop computers in the computer lab. Most of these children didn’t even know how to turn on a computer a short while ago; now they are working with this modern technology gracefully and effortlessly. A newly-hired and dynamic young teacher was tutoring the eager students on the basics of computers.
Ms. Rahman also stopped by the HRF Learning Center at the OWA school in Kabul and saw that they needed new laptops for their computer lab and chairs for students. A total of 150 students are enrolled at this school. She spoke with the staff and arranged to provide them with computers and chairs. We’ve hired two teachers at the Learning Center, but we want to make sure that the students have everything they need to flourish in their studies.
In a country that has struggled to expand equitable access to quality education, for girls especially, we are very proud of our record of providing equal opportunities to both boys and girls as we celebrate our eighth year as a non-profit organization. With your help, our students and other orphans across Afghanistan – among the poorest and most vulnerable children in the world – are rapidly developing the foundational skills (both academic and emotional) and knowledge required for the many challenges that lie ahead. It’s truly remarkable.
With another successful school year completed in December – our fourth already! – Homaira Rahman School students are enjoying a well-deserved break from the rigors of classwork. They will resume their studies in March, eager to start the new academic year with renewed energy and optimism. But with winter’s chill settling over much of Afghanistan, the freezing temperatures and heavy snowfalls are a persistent source of suffering. For the masses of poverty-stricken people, families spend most of their time scrounging for firewood, food, clothing and blankets in a desperate bid to keep warm and well-nourished. And without adequate shelter from the unrelenting cold, the children are most at risk – too many succumb to treatable diseases and malnutrition. To help reduce winter vulnerability for orphaned students at the OWA school in Kabul, the site of our Learning Center, HRF has extended financial assistance for the procurement of food and basic supplies, which we hope will bring them some warmth and comfort during these frigid and snowy months. HRF also made a contribution to The Children of War (TCOW) who will distribute life-saving emergency relief supplies in remote, isolated villages where there is considerable loss of life due to a series of avalanches and massive snowstorms.
In Kandahar, where most people are struggling to survive on the margins of a crowded city, we recently made a donation to Sana Orphanage, which houses more than 53 children. The money was used to purchase warm clothing – hats and coats to stave off the penetrating cold – and pay one month’s rent for the facility. Sana’s mission is to “educate, care for and provide hope to the orphans of Kandahar.”
HRF’s goal has always been to safeguard the health and well-being of vulnerable children in Afghanistan while allowing them the opportunity to reach their full potential through education. With your assistance, we will continue to provide essential supplies for children in need throughout the year and also ensure that they have all the necessary skills to take control of their lives and build secure futures for themselves and their families.
December 2016 Update: Online Fundraiser & Winter Coat Drive
2016 Online Fundraiser
Our 5th Annual Online Fundraiser successfully raised over $18,000 in 3 days! On behalf of HRF, the students and the staff, we are so thankful for your generous contributions and ongoing support. What we accomplished, we could not have done without your likes, shares and uplifting comments in response to our Facebook and other social media posts. We hope you take pride in knowing that your compassion offers opportunities for personal growth to defenseless children traumatized by war and poverty. It will enable them to brighten their communities one day.
Winter Coat Drive
The arrival of colder weather creates more suffering for the children of Afghanistan every year. For many, it’s simple things, which most of us take for granted, like coats, shoes and blankets that can literally mean the difference between life and death. To help our students battle the extreme cold, some of our loyal supporters organized a successful coat drive in Virginia recently, raising over $1300 used mainly to purchase 90 fur-lined coats, which were distributed to the kids in Kabul in what turned out to be a very emotional and uplifting event. We also waited for this occasion to give each student hand-knitted, woolen scarves embroidered with the HRF logo and colors made by a small group of widows several months ago. The kids were overjoyed to receive these essential items that they couldn’t possibly begin to afford and which will help them battle the cold in the coming months. We used the remainder of those funds to purchase various school supplies for our students at the OWA school in Kabul and to provide our amazing teachers and staff at the Homaira Rahman School with small monetary gifts as a token of our appreciation.
Amazon.com has launched a program called AmazonSmile, which helps raise funds for designated charities. Now you can shop online at Amazon.com as you normally would and at the same time help our students reach a brighter future. Simply click on “Get Started” below to sign up and a portion (0.5%) of the purchase you make will automatically be donated to HRF. There are no extra charges and it’s hassle-free.