AYENDA AFGHAN CHILDREN INITIATIVE
Afghan Amb. Said T. Jawad and his wife Shamim, hosted a benefit dinner for Ayenda, the Afghan Children Initiative. Ayenda, which means "future" in Dari, works to implement projects that promote the welfare, education, health and artistic and athletic abilities of Afghan Children.
Guests listened to remarks by First Lady Laura Bush and Dr. Khaled Hosseini (author of "The Kite Runner") speakbefore diningonatraditionalAfghanbuffetthatincluded Mantu (ground beef and scallion-filled dumpling topped with yogurt) and Firnee (cornstarch pudding with pistachios). Fariba Jahanbani,who organized a silent auction with sponsor Cartier, shared that this was an important evening because it "planted a seed" in the children of Afghanistan that will help them grow.
Kuwaiti Amb. Salem Al- Sabah and his wife Rima, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his wife Joyce, Kathleene Card, Michael and Linda Sonnenreich and Jordanian Amb. Karim Kawar and his wife Luma.
BY DR KHALED HOSSEINI
"My fi rst novel, The Kite Runner, is an account of family and friendship, a story of atonement and personal salvation. But it is is also a story of childhood and innocence lost. For children in Afghanistan, innocence is a rare commodity. They have been traumatized by bombings, landmines, human rights abuses, and chronic malnutrition. They've been orphaned and maimed. They have witnessed acts of violence against their parents and relatives. Trauma, hunger, and fear are the daily facts of life for far too many of them.
During a 2003 visit to Kabul, I was moved that despite the atrocities, the brutalities, and the hardships Afghan children have endured, there was in them humility, astonishing grace, and sturdy resilience. The children I saw struck me as willing, eager, desperate even to learn, to work, to contribute, to improve the lot of their lives. In other words, They still had their hope.
That is why I feel the Afghan Children's Initiative (ACI), a project that promotes the well being, the education and safety of Afghan children is so vital. It was my pleasure and honor to add my voice to this cause, to help ACI in whatever small way to meet the critical needs of Afghanistan's children. Because maybe Afghanistan can fi nd its way with children who've had lost their innocence, but not with children who've lost their hope."