As many of you will know, last year we suspended our programs in Afghanistan as the security situation changed. We said right from the start that we were committed long-term to the children of Afghanistan and that as soon as it was safe to do so, we would aim to restart our programs.
As 2022 kicks off, we are delighted to let you know that we have now begun to run programs once again in Afghanistan. Over the last few months, the needs of the community have changed. Around 90% of Afghans currently face food insecurity and many, many more children are now out of school than before. For these reasons, we have adapted our programs to meet the current needs of our students and their families.
Our first project is food distribution. The country is facing an uncertain future as the large amounts of international aid that supported the economy have largely dried up. This is affecting Afghan families on a daily basis and many of our students and their families are lacking food. So far we have distributed over 850 food parcels to our students’ families, each one containing enough food for a month for an average-sized family. We hope to increase this to reach 1000 families in the next few weeks. We're also supplying families with fuel packages as the winter months are very tough. The food parcels include flour, peas, rice and oil. This is not entirely new to Skateistan - during the covid lockdowns in Afghanistan and South Africa, we also began distributing food and our Back-to-School students have always received a hot meal as part of the program. Equally in South Africa we are currently running a nutrition program, which provides kids with a healthy meal before they start skating. It’s all about listening to what our community tells us they need and responding in the best way we can.
We have also begun to run our Back-to-School program once again in Afghanistan. Back-to-School is for children who are out of formal education and has always been a chance for children to enter or re-enter formal schooling. There are many uncertainties at the moment in Afghanistan as to who will be allowed to complete their schooling and many children have been displaced from their home towns by the upheaval in the summer months last year. So there are many children who need this chance at education, as well as the structure and focus that daily lessons can bring in uncertain times. At the moment, we are running this program remotely for girls and boys. We hope to be able to begin running in-person classes very soon.
We promised that we would not turn our backs on the children of Afghanistan. We’ve been working constantly to be in a position where we can once again offer some level of support to our communities and let our students know that they have not been forgotten in the chaos and confusion of last year’s events. We couldn’t have done this without the incredible support of our global community, who have stood by us and put faith in us to keep going. From the bottom of our hearts, we’d like to thank each and every person who has continued to support us in these extremely difficult times. With your help, we can continue to grow our programs in Afghanistan and around the world.
The Skateistan story has changed, but it will carry on. Can you help us to write the next chapter? Donate today.