Back in 2001, I, like everyone, felt hopeless and helpless in the wake of 9/11. Watching people tell the stories of their loved ones for 3-4 days, all of the stories that turned out not to be true, all of the amazing stories of heroism…I was a grad student at the time, in a small town. I knew that I would never be able to understand the experiences I was watching. What could I do?
I had always been a crafter, and the idea came to me to try to find somebody that was looking for homemade items to sell, which would in turn raise money for the victims. Children newly orphaned were of special concern. During this time, I found an organization called Afghans for Afghans.
Of course, this organization caught my attention for 2 reasons. First, it was a charity crafting organization. Second, it was for Afghanistan, a country that was bearing the brunt of the blame for the 9/11 attacks. I decided that I would make some items and send them. The fulfillment I received from doing so got me hooked on making things for charities, a hobby that still occupies a lot of my time.
Afghans for Afghans is on my mind today because I just got an email update that makes it seem like the collection they are doing now might be the last for the whole year. A few years ago, there were many different collections — someone would be collecting socks for kids, another would be collecting blankets for maternity wards. But those days are gone, thanks to the increased in power of the Taliban, a lack of funds, and general deterioration of the situation.
I hope that this is not the case. Afghans for Afghans didn’t just give me something to do after 9/11. It gave me hope that even after all of that, there could still be people who would view the world as bigger than themselves. To give charity to a country when your country just declared war on it takes guts.
Afghans for Afghans is collecting items for kids ages 7-14 until May 14th. Since these items might have to last for the entire year, I’m hoping to be able to send a lot of items in addition to the socks I made (pictured). If you are interested in helping either through crafting or monetarily, take a gander at their website: http://afghansforafghans.org/