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Overview

Children in many rural parts of Afghanistan have not had access to school or access to a doctor in over 20 years. The long drought, along with the total economic disruption due to the Soviet Union invasion, the Taliban rule, and recent war have caused the health and well-being of Afghan children and their families to reach desperate proportions.

  • It's hard to believe that approximately 165 out of every 1,000 babies born in Afghanistan die within the first year. Fewer than seven U.S. babies die in their first year.
  • Over 25% of Afghani children who survive their first year die before reaching age five.
  • Nearly half of all Afghani children are severely / moderately underweight. Over half suffer from moderate / severe stunting of their growth and 25% suffer from moderate / severe wasting.
  • Few rural Afghani children are immunized against diseases that have nearly disappeared in the US, such as measles, diphtheria and polio. In fact, UNESCO estimates that 1/3 of the children in some rural areas will die within the next year if conditions do not change.
  • Only 11% of rural Afghanis have access to safe water and only 8% have access to adequate sanitation.
    There are over 10 million landmines remaining in Afghanistan that threaten to maim individuals - farmers plowing their fields or children playing outdoors.
  • About half of Afghani men and fully 85% of Afghani women are illiterate. Much of the common folklore practiced during pregnancy and childbirth has actually become life threatening to mothers and their infants.

In 1998, a group of 6th graders in Northville, MI decided to act. They founded Kids 4 Afghan Kids, a Michigan-based non-profit organization whose goal is to re-establish educational facilities for boys and girls in Afghanistan and to address the desperate health conditions in which the children and their families live. In three years, these students raised enough money under the guidance of their teacher and witnessed -- via videotapes, internet and cell phones -- the construction of a six-room school, a medical clinic, a bakery / kitchen, a guest house and community well for the residents of Wonkhai Valley, a mountainous area 3 hours southwest of Kabul.

The school opened in March 2001 with six teachers and 465 students in first through sixth grade. It now has 1800 students and twenty-one teachers. The desire for education is so strong that many of the children walk over 4 hours each way to get to and from the school. Currently, 50 orphans live at the school. Due to cultural norms, boys and girls attend separately. Currently we have two elementary schools and two high school open to students.