Thursday, December 18, 2008

Fwd: FW: EMERGENCY ACTION for AFGHAN CHILDREN: an appeal to you for support on behalf of orphans countrywide.

Sent: Wednesday, December 17, 2008 9:27 PM
To: Barbe Chambliss; Joanne Allen; Ehsan Entezar; Bronwyn Kelch; Deborah Harrison; Dianne Crowdis; Marci Krivonen; Mary Clement
Subject: EMERGENCY ACTION for AFGHAN CHILDREN: an appeal to you for support on behalf of orphans countrywide.

Dear friends and colleagues:

The situation in Afghanistan is becoming critical for the growing number of orphas and for the the orphanages that have been struggling to operate. This is not an appeal for money, but for advocacy -- to tell our leaders that this is a problem of the Government of Afghanistan. The lady making this appeal, Marnie Gustavson, is the director of PARSA, a special project that was set up several years ago to assist orphanages the orphage managers and the governmment of Afghanistan build the capacity to develop and sustain the system of support and vocational training for orphans. PARSA's work has been focused on educate and assist governement authorities and orphanage management to establish standards and improve care, training and management so that the system will be more effective in helping orphans and be accountable and sustainable.

Below, Marnie describes the current situation, conditions and needs of orphans and orphanages nationwide. As we enter the holiday season, please consider getting involved by sending a letter as a "donation" of attention and concern to the President-elect and his designated Secretary of State (Hillary Clinton), the current Secretary of State (Condoleeza Rice) and to our Representatives and Senators, on behalf of the most vulnerable group in Afghanistan -- and prevent yet another disaster for these children, Ask them to put pressure to encourage action by the Afghanistan Government and Parliament.

If you want more info. on Afghanistan and/or its people, feel free to contact me.

The Afghanistan government has the funds and the "infrastructure" to take appropriate action to deal with this problem, but only lacks the focus and the sill to do so. You can help by telling our leaders that this is what needs their urgent attention. Throwing money at the problem will not solve the problem -- it reauires responsible action by those best placed and empowered to do the job!

Thank you for your interest and support.

Most sincerely,

John Barbee

John W. Barbee, Senior Advisor
Assistance for Civil Society & Democracy Programs for Afghanistan
1202 Walz Avenue
Glenwood Springs, CO 81601 (USA)
Tel/FAX: 970 928-0173

Begin forwarded message:
From: Marnie Gustavson
Date: December 15, 2008 5:04:46 AM MST
Subject: From Marnie Gustavson, PARSA appealing to you for support on behalf of orphans in national institutions.

Dear Friends,
I have been updating you regularily on the current conditions of the 32 national orphanages and as you may know there has been a funding shortage that appears to now be at an emergency level. Directors from the 32 orphanages around the country are now appealing to the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs for funds for food, warm clothing and wood for the orphans. Without these funds children all over the country will be evicted from the orphanages in the dead of winter. PARSA has averted this inevitability in Chagcharran with the help of international donors. International donors have stepped forward to provide funds that will feed, cloth and keep 150 children in the orphanage over the winter. Long term ANDS plans include transitioning children back into the villages and supporting families to care for them but without social workers, trained case managers and an assessment process, sending children out of the orphanage at this time is called an eviction in the dead of winter.

PARSA has been working on this emergency issue for over three months. It is our strong belief that the proper care of the children in these institutions is the responsibility of the Executive Office and the Afghan government. Our finance officer has examined the financial issues in Chagcharran in detail. She has determined that the problem is not corruption except at a very small scale, but in fact, poor planning, and the unwillingness to release funds promised by the executive office. Wasel Noor, Deputy Minister of MOLSA, has assured us that the planning problems have been altered for next year. However, no person that we have appealed to on behalf of the orphans who are now facing eviction has stepped forward to provide a solution.

It is our strong belief that Afghan leaders have spoken about their commitment to the children of Afghanistan and they need to be held to account for action on this. This issue needs to be elevated to an emergency and nternational donors need to be appealed to for support. But international donors need reassurance from the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, and the Executive Office that the problems that we are facing will be addressed and corrected.

We have PARSA staff calling the orphanages to report on the conditions they are experiencing: Government staff responded not knowing how public we want to make this issue.
MolSA staff in these provinces report the following:

In PARWAN Province- Nasiruallah Akbari: 150 children and they have no food, clothing or wood for the children. He is asking permission as of today to close the orphanage. The police in the area are supporting this decision because they have determined the children in the institution are in terrible condition.

KAPISA- Mr. Kohistani: All children in the national orphanage-110- have been sent out of the orphanage.

KUNDUZ -Yacquoob Estanikzi: There are 70 children in the orphanage. He reports that they need food, warm clothing and wood.

GHAZNI- Shafiq: 120 children- Last year children had to be evicted from this orphanage. This year, the director was very careful with his money and has managed to save enough to keep the children over. They have no access to electricity.

MAIDAN WARDAK- Eslan Hossaini: All children have been sent home as of last month-100 children.

KABUL- 600

PAKTIA- Mohammed Yar Khan: 32 children- no food, warm clothes and wood. Staff are trying to keep the orphanage open through their own resources.

BADGHIS- Abdul Alem Mojadidi: 110 children -children are homeless and attending the orphanage during the day as there are no blankets.

NIM ROZ-Said Mohammed Ki: 30 children registered. They are living in orphanage without heat and warm clothing.

FARAH- Nasirullah Amini: 38 children are staying in the orphans- with 78 children are attending day school and eating lunch. This facility has no heating or clothing for the children.

TAKHAR- Naziri Shah: 120 children registered-80 have been evicted. 40 children are staying. They have enough food because they are collecting 120 children's allowances and have saved money for this time.

Parliamentarian, Dr. Roshank Wardak, on the parliamentarian Committee to oversee the Ministry of Social Affairs, has agreed to hear about this problem with constituents Wednesday 2:00 pm. She has agreed to bring the issue to the parliament. We invite you to this hearing which will be held in parliament If you cannot come please feel free to call Dr. Roshanak with your comments on this issue.

This summer President Karzai called for a raise in the daily allowance for orphans in national institutions from 50 afs to 75 af. This money has never been released. Incompetence, poor planning and indifference are intolerable when it comes to Afghanistan's children. We ask that you register your opinion and support through Dr. Roshanak. Her number is 0799276972.

If you can be at the meeting please e-mail me or call Yasin Farid, PARSA National Director 0700284286 to give your name so that we can put you on a list to clear security.

Warm regards, Marnie

Marnie Gustavson
Executive Director

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