Carol Sullivan’s Story AFCECO is an Afghan registered Non-Profit, that is funded through Charity Help International here in the United States. AFCECO’s mission is to educate Afghan leaders of tomorrow through placement in orphanages that stress tolerance and equality for all. My association with AFCECO goes back to 2005, when I chose a young girl named Pashtana from a photo of children needing sponsors in war torn Afghanistan. Pashtana and her younger siblings had roamed the alleyways of Peshawar selling water in order to earn money for their family. Her father had been captured by a Jehadi war faction and murdered. When AFCECO founder Andeisha Farid visited the refugee camp in which Pashtana was living, she was chosen for the child sponsorship program. I loved Pashtana the moment I saw her photo. Eleven years later, Pashtana and I now have the longest sponsor/child relationship in the organization, although she is no longer a child. Through AFCECO, she has matured into a university educated, amazing woman. It has been one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had to be a part of her life! In 2011, she and I actually met. Very few child sponsors ever get to meet their child. But, Pashtana actually spent several days at my home in Seattle. It was a dream that came true for both of us. In 2014, Pashtana was named Chief Operations Manager for AFCECO. She travelled with AFCECO music students to Europe, the Middle East, Turkmenistan and Turkey. This past summer, she was chosen to become the Executive Director of AFCECO. What an amazing journey from street child to business executive! What a thrill for me to have had a small part in that journey! Over time, I have also had the pleasure of helping in other ways. I have sent books for a new library, money for a new van, and money to move the orphanage in Kabul to a safer location. My daughter has gotten involved and has sponsored several children – including Pashtana’s younger sister. And, I have also sponsored several additional children myself. My daughter and I have both discovered that much greater rewards come from helping others than from purchasing “things” for yourself. Note: This story was written by Carol Sullivan in support of AFCECO for #MyGivingStory contest in 2016.