Solace for the Children Overview
Target demographics: Innocent children of war ages 7 to 12
Direct beneficiaries per year: In these early years of service, we have grown significantly in the number of children who directly benefited from the efforts of Solace for the Children. Beginning in 2007 with seven children treated. By the end of 2012, Solace will have served more than 300 Afghan children through medical services both in the U.S and in AFG as well as by providing educational support.
Someone who had 3 hours of volunteer time could: 1. Host an information event for your friends and neighbors. 2. Organize a group activity for a group of visiting children. 3. Pack 10 humanitarian bags. 4. Prepare a meal for a host family while their host child is in the hospital.
Geographic areas served: Any province of Afghanistan
Programs: • Summer Program - Acting on the belief that a mutual understanding and shared acts of genuine compassion are the foundation for true and lasting peace, Solace brings Afghan children to live with American host families for six weeks during the summer months while they are treated for medical conditions unavailable to them in Afghanistan. As of the 2011 Summer Program, Solace Communities in 3 states have treated almost 150 Afghan children from 73% of Afghan provinces.
• Solace Extended Program – Recognizing the tremendous need for medical support of the Afghan children, Solace provides treatment for children whose conditions are too complex or urgent for placement in the Summer Program. Examples: a 4 year old with bone infection complications of a club foot, 6 open heart surgeries, a boy with shrapnel embedded in his eye from a rocket attack, prosthetics to reclaim limbs lost in IED blasts, repair of bladder extrophy, and so much more. Solace is thankful for the medical communities across the country who partner with Solace in this work.
• Solace Learn – We continue to follow Solace children when they return to Afghanistan. Returning healthy to Afghanistan, many of the children have the first opportunity to attend school. Solace provides basic support to make this possible. As children exhaust educational opportunities available in Afghanistan, Solace supports their efforts to continue an education outside the country.
• Solace Leadership Program – New in 2012, the Leadership Program is designed to provide training and opportunity for positive and productive leadership for the purpose of creating a more peaceful world. Qualifying students will spend three years learning and practicing leadership skills through classroom training, working with mentors, and through practice experience with developing and carrying out “Peace Projects” in their own Afghan communities.
Solace for the Children is building peace on a foundation of health by establishing international partnerships providing medical care, education and leadership development for the children of war-torn countries. Currently we direct our services to the children of Afghanistan.
• Solace currently serves children in 25 of the 34 Afghan provinces with a goal of serving children in 100% of Afghanistan’s provinces.
• In 2012, Solace was certified as an official Afghan Non-Governmental Organization (NGO)
• About 150 Afghan children have received medical treatment as participates in Solace medical programs with at least 150 more children receiving support through in country treatment, over-the-counter medical bags packed by volunteers and distributed by returning children, and receiving educational support.
Personal impact results:
Zaman Rashid, Solace Summer Program 2007 - Today I am alive because of Solace for the Children. By offering me my health and an education I could never get, Solace has broken the thick walls of illness, hopelessness, faithlessness, and other disasters that were surrounding me. Solace has made my life absolutely beautiful and peaceful. For these reasons, I truly would like to thank, Solace and its supporters.
Zaman arrived with the first group of children from Afghanistan.
Solace was the last hope of his family for their son to live to adulthood. In a Solace Community, volunteer surgeons removed a tumor that gave Zaman back his health and his family’s hope. From that time to this, Zaman has dedicated his life to working toward bringing peace and prosperity to his beloved Afghanistan. He finished his high school education in AFG, and accepted the first Solace Scholarship to a community college in the US in 2011. Zaman is an honor student in college and for 2012-2013 serves as the President of his school’s Phi Theta Kappa Chapter. Zaman tells us that his goal now is to complete his education with a degree in international business and return to Afghanistan to establish group homes for hopeless Afghan children.
Mabobah, Solace Summer Program 2009 - I was so happy with my host family they wear very well. Sometime my family and friends ask me, did you like American? To I said no! I like American people. American people are very kind and good people I live them. Solace for the Children can help with us very good, and the Afghanistan people need to help.
Mabobah arrived in June 2009 with multiple orthopedic problems caused by untreated polio from her infancy and undiagnosed skin problems. While Mabobah will always need to walk with the aid of crutches, her skin problem was not so serious. Physical therapy and braces gave her body far more function. Typical ointment and intense laser treatments took care of her skin problems. Her six weeks within a Solace Community made it clear to us that Mabobah had another very large obstacle in her life – lack of education. With her health elevated and the blessings of family, Solace began to look for ways to begin and support Mabobah’s education. A school for girls was in her area; however, walking for a girl on two crutches was not a possibility. We tried to provide transportation, yet that was unreliable and left her still with a path to travel to get to the road that was extremely difficult and dangerous. Soon we found a teacher who would come to Mabobah’s home and with the aid of a computer and various electronic classes, not only Mabobah began to learn, but her siblings, too! While I was in Kabul in December 2011, Mabobah, her father and one brother traveled into the city to visit with me. Very proudly she spoke with me in the English she is learning as she studies math and other subjects. The note you see above is taken from a letter she wrote to me several weeks ago.
Abed Arian, Solace Extended Program Interpreter 2010 and 2011/2012 – Solace for the Children has changed lives of many people, including my brother and my family. The way we look at America is completely different. Our friendship with Americans can and will change the public view about how Americans can work within Afghanistan. My family has been involved with Solace and believes it is a program that opens doors for those who are suffering from war. Solace shows us that together we can overcome the problems by building peace on a foundation of health.
Abed’s introduction into the Solace Extended Program was as an interpreter for his young brother who was suffering from uncontrolled seizures. At age 18, Abed bravely escorted his little brother to a Solace Community where he worked with medical specialists and physical and language therapists to identify the cause of the seizures and regulate medication to control them. When Abed’s brother arrived he could not dress himself, feed himself or speak in a way that could be understood. When they returned to their family about 5 months later, Abed’s little brother could do each of these successfully. Abed returned with instructions for his family concerning simple ways to continue to help their young son be all he could be. In 2011, Abed returned with another boy in need of life-saving urological surgery. His service to Solace comes from the heart in gratitude for the immense impact the volunteers of this organization have had on his entire family.