Not surprisingly, this has been the worst year for LNF since our inception.
In the spring everything was going so well. We had spent weeks building a robust system of student records, and moved to a twice-yearly intake of students as our scholarship programme expanded. Students were graduating to become doctors.
Sophie, our part-time staff member in Uig, was proving invaluable as the LNF workload increased.
Then US forces left Afghanistan and the Taliban took over. A country should be governed by its own people rather than by an occupying army but Afghanistan has swapped an occupying foreign army for a local occupying army.
Afghanistan had been spared a long and bloody civil war but we do hope that the moderate element which exists within the Taliban will prevail, not those who would terrorise people into submission.
Our intention is to continue the programmes we have started.
We eventually managed to arrange the evacuation of our staff from Kabul and they are now safely living in a house here on the isle of Lewis. We have taken on part-time staff in Kabul to replace them to continue the vital work we are still doing in spite of the difficulties.
Our intention is to continue the programmes we have started. Many of our students have returned to universities to study, but hunger is the main challenge now, following a severe summer drought, the removal of western aid and the failure of the Afghan banking system.
After 10 years of helping things to improve, it’s hard to remain optimistic about the immediate future for Afghans. As their situation gets worse, women and children will need our help more.
Difficult as it gets, we have to try harder to overcome the obstacles, always remembering that our troubles are piffling compared to theirs.
Thank you all for your ongoing support.
John and Lorna Norgrove