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New orphanage provides chance for change

 

Written by U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Amy Abbott Kunar Provincial Reconstruction Team Public Affairs

Regional Command East - Combined Joint Task Force - 101Kunar Province, Afghanistan – The Kunar Provincial Reconstruction Team along with the Kunar Provincial Government and the Social Protection Sectorial Working Group have commissioned the building of a new orphanage in Asadabad.

The Asadabad orphanage, described as structurally unsound, was in a proposal submitted last year to the previous PRT. The funding request for a new one was approved, a construction team was awarded the contract in June, the old orphanage was demolished, and a ground breaking for the new building took place July 15th.

U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Paul Wewers, stationed at Tinker Air Force Base, OK, Kunar PRT executive officer, participates in the ground breaking ceremony for the Asadabad orphanage July 15th. (Photo by U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Amy Abbott, Kunar Provincial Reconstruction Team)

U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Paul Wewers, stationed at Tinker Air Force Base, OK, Kunar PRT executive officer, participates in the ground breaking ceremony for the Asadabad orphanage July 15th. (Photo by U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Amy Abbott, Kunar Provincial Reconstruction Team)

“The goal here was to ensure orphans received at least one meal a day,” said U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Sean Gillespie from Norfolk, VA, Kunar PRT, project manager for the Asadabad orphanage. “In addition, to increase literacy by 10 percent, reduce child dysentery by half, decrease the number of children running around in the streets, and increase child education through 12th grade.”

The final approved design was a two-story structure that included 10 classrooms, four other rooms for teachers or administrative purposes, a dining hall that could also be used as an assembly hall and new latrines.

Children sit on the rubble outside the kitchen of the old Asadabad orphanage. The new orphanage will include 10 classrooms, four other rooms for teachers, and a dining hall.  (Photo by U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Amy Abbott Kunar Provincial Reconstruction Team Public Affairs)The contract went to Shafiqullah Mushfiq and his company Amial Champ. It also included providing furniture to accommodate approximately 300 people.

“[Amial Champ] put a lot of effort into this amazing design and has taken great pride in creating a place where these children can blossom into young adults,” said U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Paul Wewers, Kunar PRT executive officer, stationed at Tinker Air Force Base, OK. “By supporting one another and working together, [they] are helping Afghanistan build its next generation of teachers, businessmen and leaders – some of whom may grow up in this very place.”

In Afghanistan, an orphan is a child who does not have a father, but may still have a mother. Children do not live in the orphanage but come for lunch and schooling. The Asadabad orphanage is only available for boys.

A child wearing a “Support the Troops” hat wanders through the empty lot where the new Asadabad orphanage will be built. (Photo by U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Amy Abbott, Kunar Provincial Reconstruction Team)“If you do not want them picking up guns they have to have an alternative – they either need an education or a job,” said Gillespie.

The purpose of the Asadabad orphanage is to continue educating the youths, in particular orphans who face unique challenges, as well as preparing and enabling them to compete for jobs.

“We do not just want to build a building, but a place for [the children] to learn, grow and to feel safe,” said Wewers. “This will be a place to blossom in, to dream – a place where they know no limits and can be anything they want.”

The Asadabad orphanage is scheduled to be completed in 2011.


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