The Afghan Child Education and Care Organization (AFCECO) is an Afghan non-profit organization based in Kabul and fully registered since 2008 with AISA – the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s official registration agency. Founding director Andeisha Farid opened her first parwarishga, or “foster haven” in 2004, in Pakistan. An Afghan native who had grown up in war and displacement, her dream was to come up with an innovative way to help vulnerable Afghan children, in this case orphaned refugees.
This dream developed into a mission that dares to approach the problems in Afghanistan with a very simple, universally acceptable solution: what if a portion of the estimated 1.6 million orphans in Afghanistan could be raised in a new kind of orphanage, one that is inclusive, not exclusive of the villages and provinces where the children come from? What if this new orphanage operates with the blessing of the home village? What if aside from a liberal arts education it offers security, teaches equality, non discrimination on the basis of religion, ethnicity, or gender, and otherwise nurtures in a manner very much like that of an extended family? What if the goal is not so much to save as many children from the streets as possible, but to impact a large number of them over time, creating a civilian leadership, Afghan doctors, midwives, engineers, journalists, professionals who are not going to expatriate, but who will remain in their beloved country out of a deep sense of Khawk, what all Afghans long for: their homeland’s earth beneath their feet? What if these children could learn the power of community, and develop the skills to build and strengthen it on a local, national and international scale? What if they could learn that the first step to building a better society is to find one’s own voice, and then to listen and speak to others from the heart, with honesty, integrity and a dedication to the common good? To achieve these goals requires a source of funding that is sustainable, able to weather sudden changes in world events.
Fortunately Andeisha became known to CharityHelp International (CHI), a US non-governmental organization that funds programs through a child sponsorship program. This allows individuals from around the world to form bonds with the child of their choice, and participate in sustaining the orphanage by paying some or all of the cost of providing that child with her or his needs.
This program alone gave Andeisha with the opportunity to create a network of friends and a means to grow. In December of 2007 Andeisha made a commitment to return to Afghanistan.