|Andeisha Farid |
On January 1, 2011 a beautiful 16 year old "orphan" from Afghanistan arrived at my front door. She was one of three amazing young women who achieved the honor of being a top student in a Leadership Workshop at AFCECO and she was chosen to visit the U.S.A. for three months. My family had the honor of being her American host family. Her name is Sahar and her hero (and mine) is Andeisha Farid, the founder of AFCECO (Afghan Children Education and Care Organization). Andeisha grew up as a victim of the war, strife and poverty that has plagued Afghanistan for many, many years. She has lived as a refugee, and she witnessed, among other horrible things, the murder of her twelve year old brother. At that moment she vowed to improve the future of her country and to make life better for the children who would come after her. She managed to get an education and proceeded to open an orphanage, and then another and another...
AFCECO now serves several hundred children in several orphanages/shelters in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Children from all regions and tribes of Afghanistan live together in these orphanages/shelters. As one might not expect in Afghanistan, boys and girls are treated (and treat each other) as equals, they are taught to respect differences (race, religion, etc.) and education is a top priority. These children learn and sing and play together...all with the hope of growing, loving and learning together...and becoming future leaders in their beloved Afghanistan. As one can imagine, it is a struggle to keep these orphanages up and running, but, somehow, Andeisha and her team of supporters keep creating miracles.
While many of the children at AFCECO are orphans, some are not...many have lost both or at least one parent, many have witnessed the death or torture of loved ones, most have known only war and poverty...but AFCECO is bringing hope into their lives. Andeisha's dream is coming true. Andeisha has dedicated her life to changing the future of her country. Her method of change is through teaching and inspiring peace, love, equality, justice, and academic excellence. As a host parent of an AFCECO child, and also as a sponsor of an AFCECO child, I have been privileged to witness the miracles of AFCECO first hand. I am so very fortunate to have these brave and amazing children in my life...and and I can not help but be awed and inspired by their hero, and mine, Andeisha Farid.
|Andeisha Farid with three leadership girls (Carol Kim)|
Sahar, my Afghan daughter, will graduate from the 12th grade in December 2013. She is currently studying for her university entrance exams and hopes to one day become a doctor. I am so very proud of her (she is also one of my heroes) and she is a wonderful testament to the great work that Andeisha and AFCECO are doing in Afghanistan.