Winter is in full swing, and snow has begun to fall in Kabul. To brighten the dark nights we recently celebrated Mohsin’s birthday. While some children have gone to visit their villages, the rest are getting some extra schooling thanks to twelve volunteers on break from Kabul University. All major subjects are covered, including English and a computer tutorial.

This is the time of the year to plan for the future, and with yet another boost in support from NBC (the Today Show re-broadcast the Brian Williams story on Christmas morning) we have the means to act on those plans. The donations received from these broadcasts in conjunction with major donations from Terry Cardwell, Doffie Rotter and Rose Vines have propelled immediate and long range plans. In the days to come, Mehan orphanage will be equipped with a gymnasium. The older girls historically have had very few opportunities for physical activity, and as we all know exercise is vital for fitness as well as emotional health. New orphanages are going to be opened in Herat and Jalalabad, and twelve children are going to Italy in the first week of January, where for two months they will be immersed in a new language and culture.


As our sponsors in the United States celebrate their day of Thanksgiving, we too express ourdeepest thanks for the at fortune of having been chosen by Brian Williams as the subject of a special segment on NBC Nightly News. It is a gift that continues giving, as hundreds of new sponsors have joined our family. So moved was Mr. Williams by the response, he did a follow-up segment on the show. In it he applauded all those who gave, and showed clips of the children making thank-you cards. He exclaimed how the “making a difference” piece on Andeisha and AFCECO orphanages was one of the most popular segments he had ever done. A few short months ago, who could have predicted our worries about decreased sponsorship and the cost of housing would be alleviated virtually overnight? As a result we can turn our attention toward some of our long-range plans. Even as we do, we know how important it is to sustain the momentum we now enjoy, raising awareness of our activities, gaining support and expanding the number of children we can bring into the program.

In case you did not get a chance to view the story, please visit our website: www.afceco.organd here is the link on YouTube:

Winter has arrived, with temperatures at night dropping to zero degrees Celsius. We have begun to use the heaters in the orphanages, thanks again to our beloved sponsors who donated for the firewood.

As promised in the last newsletter, we have administered the second round of Hepatitis B vaccinations to all the children and staff of Mehan and Sitara orphanages. Unfortunately, the H1N1 virus finally hit Afghanistan. As a result the schools were closed for three weeks in an attempt to prevent the sickness from spreading. This was such a sudden decision we had no opportunity to prepare a special course to augment the children’s loss of studies. Just as suddenly, a few days before the final exams had been scheduled, it was announced they would proceed as planned, regardless of not having any classes held all month. Now the children are in the midst of “cramming” for exams. Between the disruptions of this year’s election and the emergence of the flu in the countryside it has been a challenge getting the children further ahead in their studies. One bright spot has been the presence of an art instructor giving regular classes to the children. It turns out we have some very talented emerging artists in our midst. Soon we hope you will see examples of their work either in card form or on the Internet.

Like other months, November was also a month of birthday celebrations at Kabul orphanages. Terry Cardwell, a founding sponsor from Florida funded for a giant birthday party for all children of Sitara Orphanage. She had made a Platinum Founding Sponsorship donation that let us to establish a new orphanage in Kabul in 2009. Rose Vines, another sponsor from New Orleans, who had made a Silver Founding Sponsorship donation funded the birthday party of her children at Mehan Orphanage.

Please visit this link to know more about Founding Sponsorship:


As always, to all of you a hearty thanks for your part in the vision we share for the future of Afghanistan.

The health and wellbeing of the children being of primary concern, our family of friends put heads andresources together to stay on top of things. In so doing it has been a month never to be forgotten. In conjunction with a Veterans for Afghanistan fundraiser, NBC Nightly News picked up the story of Kristen Rouse, one of our sponsors. She in turn led Brian Williams and his crew to visit Mehan orphanage, bringing a huge venue of publicity to our cause. The story was featured on October 30th in a prime time segment “People Making a Difference”. Frishta exchanging eyeglasses with Mr. Williams, and Farzana Nori explaining what home is to her with such poise, and of course all the smiling children were captured on film for the world to see. Andeisha’s message was heard loud and clear.


“Love is never where you found her last; she resides in what comes between you, and though one day a peasant hoes a ditch, and a river weaves through terraced gardens, to begin with there will always be the waterfall. You are my waterfall…”


 Ian Pounds addressing the children of Mehan orphanage his final night in Kabul

September began with a farewell party to a volunteer who simply placed himself as the most beloved friend in the hearts of 170 children. For five months Ian lived with them, laughed and cried with them, all the while leading classes in a wide variety of disciplines, accommodating an even wider variety of learning levels among his students. The tears that flowed that final evening are flowing still. Our hearts will not be completely full until one day he returns to our open, waiting arms.


In a year when the news from Afghanistan was full of conflict, when rulers and aide agencies scrambled for explanations and solutions, when the war seemed on many fronts to stagnate or go in reverse and prospects become vague, today we feel we can be so bold as to say there is at least one solution that has been tested and is working. That is because AFCECO not only survived this tumultuous year, but also flourished: 6 new orphanages established for 300 new girls and boys and that is just the beginning. We’d like to devote this newsletter to the progress made in 2010 as a testament to the cumulative evidence that the work you and AFCECO are engaged in is in fact one model for positive change, and that if anyone is looking for answers to the short and long-term problems in Afghanistan they would do well to see what is happening in our orphanages.

AFCECO is an Afghan non-profit organization based in Kabul running orphanages and educational centers for Afghan orphans and street children.
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