In Loving Memory of Ian Pounds
Ian McClement Pounds passed away in Chittagong, Bangladesh. He was 55. Ian was well-known around the world as a teacher, an author and playwright, a musician and songwriter, a guidance counselor, a firefighter, a mason, a carpenter, a canvas maker, and an all-around philanthropist, humanitarian, dreamer and innovator.
Ian left his comfortable life in the States in 2008 and spent 5 years in Kabul living with the Afghan children at Afghan Child Education and Care Organization (AFCECO). He started working as a volunteer and taught English, Drama, and Music. Over the next five years he built lasting relationships with the children and staff at our orphanages. This noble human being from Vermont simply placed himself as the most beloved teacher in the hearts of hundreds of Afghan orphans. For five years he lived with them, laughed and cried with them.
We have thousands of stories to tell about Ian that how much he loved and cared for our children. We fall short of words to describe this great man. Andeisha still remembers his phone call back in 2008 when he was eagerly asking her to let him come to Kabul and stay in Mehan Orphanage and when she told about the security risks that might put his life in danger, he replied: “teaching Afghan kids is what I have dreamed for no matter whatever comes”.
Ian was not only a mentor to our children; he also assisted Andeisha and her team, who was working day and night reaching out to hundreds of Americans to help our children. He was key in the expansion of our orphanages throughout Afghanistan. He helped write grants to seek funding for the orphanages. In fact, with Ian’s help, AFCECO was able to get funding from major international donor agencies.
As part of his efforts in raising awareness about AFCECO, Ian conceptualized and led two student trips to the U.S.—the first with three students, and the second with six students and a chaperone. They toured the country living in a huge recreational vehicle they affectionately referred to as “the Magic Bus.” The children spent several months giving speeches, and teaching Americans about AFCECO and the immeasurable difference that AFCECO has made for hundreds of Afghan orphans. While on tour, they raised over $100,000 in donations for the orphanages.
Ian wrote prolifically throughout his life. He composed plays, poetry, non-fiction, memoirs, and music. He loved his students and documented their life’s stories in his work.
Ian was a pacifist whose teachings contributed to the wellbeing of our world.
Ian lost a battle with ALS on July 31st, 2016. It’s difficult to stop tears flowing every time we recall his memories, his kindness and love he showed to our children. You can imagine how devastating this must have been for those children who all have loving memories of Ian in their heart. AFCECO children lost their best teacher!
The love the orphanage children have for Ian is a memory that will be remembered forever and his memory now becomes a treasure that must be preserved in history.