March is a month of new beginnings. In addition to March 21st being the first day of spring it is also Nowruz, what Afghan people celebrate as New Year’s. This year we had an amazing celebration at the new home of Mehan Orphanage. Schools start in March 23rd after a long winter break, and the children who have been visiting their relatives have already begun to return. They are all excited and full of stories to tell, so ask them to share their experiences with you in their letters. While the children were on their vacation, our staff worked around the clock to get the new home of Mehan Orphanage ready. They also did maintenance at boys’ orphanage repairing and painting the house, replacing the bed sheets, curtains and other necessary items.

Birthday celebrations have now become a common occurrence in the orphanages and they have an important role in our children’s lives. Every month we have two to three birthdays in the orphanages and this month we celebrated Marwa’s birthday. We thank Allyn Rosenberg, for his generous donation. During the birthday party we also had a Skype call with Allyn and his wife Gloria. It was wonderful experience and it made all of us happy. We are pleased to inform you that Azadi Radio selected Andeisha as their Person of the Year.

Here are the links to the video and the article: English Version Video Report: http://www.rferl.org/media/video/afghanistan-orphanage/27635149.html.

Farsi Version Video Report: https://www.facebook.com/AzadiR/videos/vb.346344192125581/997608883665772/?type=2&theater. Article: http://www.bignewsnetwork.com/news/242504581/radio-azadi-names-person-of-the-year.

We are also happy to let you know that two of AFCECO’s girls, Malalai and Pashtana, were featured in the official magazine of Afghanistan National Football Federation. After our football team participated in the national female football tournament they were awarded the prize for the fair play.

A group of our girls have been preparing for an upcoming event in Antalya, Turkey. The event name is 23rd April Children’s Festival which is dedicated to all the world’s children by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the first president of Turkey who lead his country in becoming a modern, democratic, and secular nation. The festival is very big and children from many countries are invited to participate and perform. Our girls will perform two pieces of Afghan national dance, Attan. The festival takes place from April 17th to May 1st but our girls will return on April 24th when their part of the program is finished so they do not miss their school. These are the girls that will participate at the festival and they will be accompanied by two adults from AFCECO: Marwa, Tajala, Krishma, Sivench, Madina, Sunbol, Samia, Aziza, Shogofa and Aiman.

We will celebrate the opening of Mehan’s new location on April 2nd. We have invited many dignitaries to attend our event. Look for details and photos in a newsletter in early May.

As you are aware last April we had to increase the sponsorship costs due to the rising costs in Kabul. We added two new sponsorship levels: Housing and Health Care. Thank you to everyone that increased their sponsorship to cover the additional costs. Unfortunately we still have many children that are not fully sponsored. Please share AFCECO’s story and the impact you are having on the lives our children with your friends, families and colleagues in order to help increase our sponsorship. Remember any donation received between now and June 16th will be matched by one of our longtime sponsors.

We know there are many opportunities to help children around the world. We would like to express our deepest gratitude to all our kind sponsors for continuing to support the children of Afghanistan and for standing next to us even in our most difficult circumstances. This mean a world to us.