After completing the swim, which won for the six women great admiration for their fortitude and endurance, the dinner to celebrate their achievement was held in the Skinners’ Hall at the end of January’09. The two events raised £10,000 for the charity. We are extremely grateful to all those who gave donations towards the swim, or participated in the dinner, auction and raffle.
Together with the existing funds this will enable the charity to construct another Delivery Room in the village of Shaba in the Panjsher valley. There will not be sufficient funds to take on the construction of the small hospital in Sefid Chihr. However, the same team are aiming, for their next goal, to swim the length of Loch Ness in early September’09.
The US PRT (Provincial Reconstruction Team) has installed solar powered equipment, consisting of water purifiers, lighting and thermosiphons (for heating water) in many of the Clinics in the Province, including three of the four Clinics where AMCR has built Delivery Rooms. For a thermosiphon to operate there has to be a 24 hour daily water supply.
Water Supply Problems
In the Health Centres at Darre and Shutol the water supply has been interrupted by storm damage and road building. Engineers are trying to resolve both problems. Installing a water filtration plant and drawing water from the river may be the solution to the Darre supply.
Two of the original five had to close due to problems breaking out within the villages concerned. Latterly, in late 2008, the other three discontinued as the price of flour had risen from 750 Afghanis per 50 kg to nearly 2000 Afs. However, there has been a good wheat harvest this year in Afghanistan and north of the Oxus and the price is coming down. Should it fall below 1000 Afs there is a good chance that the remaining three bakeries will start up again.
To alleviate this closing four sewing machines and material were given to the more needy women to enable them to make a little money while working from home.
A French girl from Lorraine established an evening school in Astana village for 50 small boys and girls and recruited two girl teachers to teach them to read and write. Unfortunately she had to leave suddenly, but Rahilah who comes from the village and is the UN (Habitat) representative in the Panjsher has taken on the responsibility for the classes to continue and is paying the two teachers from her own pocket. Fortunately a generous lady from Oman has donated sufficient funds to keep the school going for a year.
Waheed Akbari, AMCR Field Manager, talking to Rahilah in the school
This will be in late autumn and after the Loch Ness swim which, it is hoped, will bring in more funds. If necessary it may be possible to kick-start some of the bakeries if they are to become operational again.