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Because of the length of war in their recent history, each province of Afghanistan has many orphans. They are housed in local orphanages, and educated through in-house schools. The orphanages are run by the Office of Orphanages in the Ministry of Work and Social Services. However, these offices have little budget to support each orphanage. So the capability of an orphanage depends heavily on the goodwill of private donors and institutions. Kabultec and the Roqia Center support such orphanages by collecting (via donations) clothing, school supplies, and food stuffs, and distributing them to orphanages in need.

Samangan Orphanage in the city of Aybak has 190 children, 85 girls, 105 boys, between the ages of 7 to 17. There are six teachers, one director and one administrative officer, plus four cleaning ladies and a small kitchen staff. They are very understaffed and underfunded, and lack many basic resources to educate and care for the children. We have met with Mr. Shafiq, head of the Office of Orphanages, and Mr. Mohmand, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Work and Social Services, who both approved Kabultec to work with these three institutions.


When we first visited this orphanage in 2008, their need was apparent. Children’s breakfast consisted of bread and a cup of tea; lunch and dinner was rice and a one-vegetable stew. Twice per week they were allotted a single piece of fruit each. Their kitchen was in an outhouse fueled by wood and kindling. The school was barely a school at all. There were no textbooks or any reading material of any kind. Teachers had no teaching aids and no prior training; many were not high school graduates themselves. Most rooms were standing room only with one scratched up chalkboard. It is not unusual to see kids who have never worn a pair of socks, who have blotchy, scaly skin and hair due to malnutrition, whose hands and feet are crusted with mud and dirt because they don’t know how to clean themselves or don’t have enough water. It is commonplace to see girls wearing boys clothes and vice versa, or kids with mismatched sandals because there are not enough to go around. I have never seen any of them wearing anything new or well-kept. Many of them have never had a toy or game of their own. The most they could have is a game they invented consisting of lines on the ground they jump over. Kite flying is very popular in Afghanistan and they would all love to engage in it -- but where is the money to buy one?

Kabultec had been supporting this orphanage in an informal way for three years, but finally in 2010 we tried to make it official. We held a donation drive for clothes and school supplies in the United States. We had to look very hard to find a carrier that would take the collection (the donations, plus boxes of books, toys, and sports goods) free of charge to Kabul, as transport costs are prohibitive. Luckily we found a carrier and in July our staff received the collection in Kabul and divided it among ten public schools and three orphanages, the Aybak orphanage included. The Aybak orphanage share came to about twenty cartons of clothing and school supplies plus three bushels of semolina and dried milk. This was a very large donation for them, and a large cargo to transport from Kabul. We drove it by bus to Aybak - - six hours by road from Kabul. In Aybak we first met with the Governor of the province and his entire staff. Then we went to the orphanage school where the entire student body, faculty, and staff were waiting for us. We reviewed the classes and talked with the students. We then presented our donation to the beaming orphanage students and officials. The project was such a success that in November we also donated to them socks, hats, notebooks, pencils, semolina and dried milk. We have promised to take them such donations again this year.


The impact is enormous: providing needy orphans with clothing, games, toys, food, learning materials, and school supplies. All of this is required as there is not enough of anything to go around. Moreover, paying attention in this meaningful manner is an act of peace and affirmation for a young person who has lost a mother or father, and may think life is just a lonely state. What strikes me every time I visit the orphanage is how eager the children are to see us. They are so curious and happy they cannot take their eyes off us and cannot hide their smiles no matter how hard they try. What I always want to do upon seeing them is to cry… How could it be that in this twenty-first century, some kids in the world have so much that life is almost blasé to them, and some kids have so little that a second hand used small toy becomes one of their most prized possessions?

I can never stop thinking about their future; about how their future affects Afghanistan… me, you, the world. I cherish them, this lot that seems like weeds, but can grow to be flowers. Imagine what beauty comes to them when they are touched this way. We have found our effort to be really worthwhile, not only on a material basis but also on a spiritual level – with quality with meaning.

Team Credentials

Kabultec/The Roqia Center has been dealing with grassroots and the dispossessed in Afghanistan for over nine years now. We know people, the problems, and the institutions that are responsible for these orphanages. We have access to them and know how to deal with them.