Volunteer Blog: Richard Elliot’s reflections from Afghanistan

Since 2016, GO Campaign has worked with our Local Hero Nangyalai Attal and Afghans 4 Tomorrow to ensure that girls in rural Afghanistan are able to continue their education. Check out Richard’s reflection on his experience seeing the program in action.

I spent months communicating with my contacts at Afghans4Tomorrow, Najibullah and Negeena, before flying from my home on the western coast of Australia to Afghanistan’s confronting capital city, Kabul.

Afghans4Tomorrow is an organization run by Afghanis that strongly believes in the power of education and the future of Afghanistan. Najibullah, who was a wonderful host, met me at Kabul’s chaotic international airport and assisted me in settling into my accommodation. The following day I accompanied Najibullah and Negeena as we navigated the streets and markets of Kabul. Both individuals proved invaluable in negotiating favorable prices on items ranging the continuum from laptops to solar panels to school materials to basic toiletries.

During the following week, we traveled many hours north (The other directions were deemed unsafe due to Taliban activity.) of Kabul to a school located in the small village of Kharote, which is in Kabul Province. As was the case wherever I traveled in Afghanistan, I was warmly welcomed (The welcome extended to a lunch in the home of the village Elder.). I’ll admit to feeling like a Muslim Santa Claus as we handed out school bags, essential supplies and basic toiletries to incredibly appreciative students. Their joyful smiles and hopeful eyes have been indelibly seared into my psyche. We also traveled to the Barek Aab High School in Parwan Province, where we provided older students with laptops, science materials, a generator and solar paneling. Although the students spoke minimal English and my understanding of the local language extended only to basic courtesies such as “Salam” (“Hello.”) and “Tashakor” (“Thank-you.”), they were able to effectively communicate their gratitude.

Afghanistan deserves its reputation as a challenging destination. Indeed, the day after I arrived, Kabul’s international airport was bombed, closing it for a period of hours. What may not be common knowledge is the passion and hope the Afghanistan people, who have for decades endured invasions, civil wars and the ongoing threat that is the Taliban, have for the future of their country. I’m fortunate to have been able to positively contribute to that future.

If you are interested in volunteering with one of our many partners around the world and seeing the direct impact of GO Campaign’s work, please feel free to contact us. 

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