I have excuses for irregular blogging. Now that Lorna and I are doing the day to day running of the Foundation, the peaks and troughs in the workload are that much greater and we’ve been through a peak. Meantime, almost when we weren’t watching, we have just passed the milestone of providing more than half a million pounds to projects in Afghanistan.
Millions and billions pepper the pages of newspapers these days and I think we all find large numbers difficult to comprehend.
It’s a milestone but, to us, it means more to know that we’ve sent out more than £3,500 every week for three years. And this is put into context by appreciating what can be achieved with relatively small sums in Afghanistan if you spend wisely.
Here are some examples:
- Surgery to transform girls’ lives: cleft palette, hip dysplasia, clubfoot and heart operations – average cost £720.
- Daily cooked lunches for children at the Afghan Children’s Circus: £80 a year.
- Classes for children and training for widows in an extremely poor area of Kabul by the Afghan charity Scawno: £42 a year.
- Payment of college fees for girls from deprived backgrounds studying for a degree at the Gawarshad Institute: £280 a year.
- Providing drinking water storage tanks in an area where children were regularly dying during the dry season after drinking water from polluted ponds: an incredible £2.90 per person.
We’re not so naïve to assume that every one of our pounds has been spent wisely. Despite our best efforts, some will have been wasted, and we’re always aware that, by the very nature of our funding, we could increase the dependency culture endemic in a country that has received so much aid.
That said, can we doubt that we have achieved some real improvements to people’s lives? And it’s these stories that give us the real satisfaction, not the figures.
And, we hope, will give satisfaction to all of you who’ve raised money for us or donated your hard-earned cash.