Cross Team Distributes School Supplies in Afghanistan
| The American Red Cross sent
1,000 school chests, each full of pencils, notebooks, crayons, rulers
and other school supplies, for distribution in Kabul during the first
days of classes. Meanwhile, U.S. children were asked to work with their
local Red Cross chapters to put together an additional 2,000 school chests
for Afghan students by May 31.
Click here more information about the American Red Cross School Chest Program.
American Red Cross staff member Malik Jaffer was in Kabul to assist with the school chest distribution on March 23 and 24. He and other relief workers delivered the chests to schools as classes were in session. Because a single chest contains enough supplies for 40 students, the team provided each classroom with one chest, Jaffer said -- sometimes two for very crowded classrooms. The young pupils and their teachers were thrilled to receive the new supplies, he reported.
Throughout the city, students filled a variety of different schools. Some schools were newly renovated buildings with new desks and chairs. Others had no furniture at all – children sat on the floor as their teacher wrote lessons on a chalkboard. Many children attended classes in mosques or private homes. Some students sat outdoors in courtyards to learn their lessons.
Although the majority of students do not have textbooks yet, USAID and UNICEF are working together to provide books in coming weeks.
Much of Afghanistan is suffering. Poverty, hunger and hardship are everywhere. But as school begins, there is a new sense of hope, Jaffer said. "There is a general feeling of opportunity in the country," he said.
"When I saw the looks on the children's faces, I felt very satisfied … it's hard to describe … when you give a child something they would never have had otherwise, you feel the hope and opportunity in the air."
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