Life gets more depressing sometimes.
Lorna has just passed me the news that a head teacher of the Parak girls’ school in Logar province of Afghanistan, Khan Mohammed, has been executed and his son wounded by Taliban gunmen. His crime had been that he had continued to teach girls after ignoring warnings to stop.
When the Taliban were in control there was a ban on education for women. Female literacy rates in Afghanistan are 12%.
It’s guys such as Khan Mohammed who are the heroes of this story. Linda always said that aid workers such as herself were there because they wanted to be, they had regular R&R breaks and, if it all got too much, they could leave.
Khan Mohammed had none of these options, but he did have the option of stopping teaching girls. I take my hat off to him and to his colleagues who continue to take these risks. Do we really have an option of taking away our support?
Our youngest daughter Sofie and her husband Matt have been super-busy fundraising this last month in Kilchrenan, near Oban, where they are based. They held a very successful general auction of more than 80 donated pieces and then, a week later, a fantastic ceilidh dance in Kilchrenan village hall, which we travelled down for. Our grandchildren have taken part in a sponsored fancy dress walk and now even their labrador has been pressed into service, shagging for the Foundation, as a stud. In all, more than £5,500 was raised. A big thank you to them and to all of those who donated, auctioned, sang, played guitar, cooked burgers or swept up.
Last week, Lorna and I travelled to Berne in Switzerland, courtesy of the UN, to receive a Green Star Award given to Linda for her environmental work within conflict zones from a group headed by the UNEP who coordinate emergency responses to environmental disasters globally. There is only one award in the individual category every two years and this is the first time that a posthumous award has been made, so it was quite an honour.
Bill Parente says
John, thanks for your writing. You and Lorna are such strong people. You should know that nary a day goes by out here in Jalalabad, on the project, that Linda’s name isn’t mentioned or remembered. Her picture is on the wall in our main conference room. Keep the Foundation alive, and pursue the work that Linda considered most important. You are making a difference in people’s lives