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Afghan children sacrifice for education, school house surrounded by guards

School Girls

Story and Photos by G. A. Volb



KABUL, Afghanistan – The dingy-yellow structure sat 50-feet off the main highway with two stories of classrooms darkened due to a lack of light fixtures – heavily-armed guards patrolled the grounds protecting grade schoolers attending the school.


From the windows peered the faces of children, preteen and older, girls and boys, all willing to risk their lives for a better future through education. The local Afghan National Civil Order Police contingent, willing to do its part to ensure the school’s success, arrived with thousands of dollars worth of school supplies.


What began as a community relations venture between coalition mentors and their Afghan National Civil Order Police counterparts in April, now stood ready to go nationwide following donations to the school Oct. 7, 2010.


A young Afghan girl looks on as classmates receive school supplies from NATO and Afghan forces. (Photo by G. A. Volb/Shutterjock)ANCOP representatives handed out pens, pencils, erasers, notebooks, glue sticks, and crayons to the student population of Amir Dost Muhammad Khanmore. It was the first of its kind, according to coalition mentors, since the entire program was planned and executed by Kabul’s Afghan Civil Order Police.


Such ventures by Afghan National Security Force components look to make a difference in communities, build relationships and improve their own credibility among citizens.


“We began the program seven months ago,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Brian Garbinski, senior enlisted advisor to ANCOP, “but this trip marked the first executed entirely by the civil order police. They’re essentially self-sufficient now.”


Garbinski said they try to make up to three visits to different provinces delivering school supplies and clothing each month, but always stop by the Amir Dost School because they consider it ground zero for the program.


ANCOP Commander Maj. Gen. Mohamed Sharif Amin wants to see “every student with, not just one notebook for all of their courses, but one for each class.


“Our people, especially the students, are always happy to receive school supplies that help further their education,” said Sharif, “but we’re also delivering clothing, medical supplies and food when we can. I want to see similar efforts in Gardez, Herat, Kandahar and Helmand too, not just Kabul.”


First-grader Sirya wasn’t quite sure what to make of all the goodies being dropped off at her school as she stood on a ledge behind a broken window screen – but she knew what she likes.


“I like the notebooks,” the six year old said shyly, fingers in her mouth, “and the pencils too.” Her reaction was typical of the children, and exactly what ANCOP was hoping for.


“This shows the people of Afghanistan that ANCOP cares about their future,” said Garbinski, originally from Union, New Jersey. “Such programs help build trust and respect between both parties.”

As the students ran off into their classes, their hands full of supplies, smiles could be seen from behind the warped, discolored windows of the school house. A simple gesture by ANCOP had, seemingly, made a difference in the lives of the people they serve. Only time will tell.

A young Afghan boy waits for his supplies


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