U.S. Navy Lt. Khalid Kader and U.S. Army Capt. Pamela Rusinko hand blankets to orphans at Aschiana Center (an orphanage and school), in Kabul, Nov. 30. Coalition forces handed out 14 boxes of blankets to several groups of kids, ranging in ages from five to early teens. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Eric Lockwood)
Coalition forces donated 14 boxes of blankets to orphans at the Aschiana Center in Kabul, Nov. 30.
Minneapolis native U.S. Navy Lt. Khalid Kader stationed at Camp Eggers, Kabul, coordinated a mission with four other coalition members and the Afghanistan humanitarian aid organization Sozo International to give 1400 blankets and other items to needy orphans at Aschiana Center, an orphanage and school.
Kader was motivated to coordinate this mission at a time when he was longing for home.
"The idea of procuring these blankets and getting them out to the needy in Kabul came at a time when I was feeling detached from home,” he said.
Kader started searching in order to find a convergence between what was needed around Kabul and what he could do to help.
"I started asking around as to what the Afghans might need,” he said, "and blankets were the overwhelming choice. These are easily used, high value items to them, especially in homes with no heat.”
"The kids lined up at the entrance, came out one at a time, and were given a blanket and piece of candy,” said U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Aaron T. Butcher, from Tillamook, Ore., one of the volunteers for the mission. "It was cool to see the smile on the kids' faces.”
The volunteers toured the orphanage, which doubled as a school. Kader considered it a satisfying experience.
"This was one of the most rewarding experiences that I have had here in Afghanistan,” he said. "What we did today was look to do what any parent would want done for their child if they weren't around.”
One moment in particular affected him the most.
"My most memorable moment was when we walked into the classroom full of the young kids, sitting on the floor, clutching their new blankets with smiles,” he said.
Additional information on this and other efforts of Sozo international can be found at http://www.sozointernational.org/.
Activated in 2009, NTM-A is a coalition of 37 contributing nations charged with assisting the Government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GoIRA) in generating a capable and sustainable Afghan National Security Force (ANSF) ready to take lead of their country's security by 2014.
By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Eric Lockwood
NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan Public Affairs