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The American people responded to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 with an unprecedented display of compassion and generosity for the victims, the survivors, and their families and children.  The millions of dollars contributed to various charities and funds has helped to ensure that the financial needs of those touched by these tragic events will not go completely unmet. 

But much of the suffering and needs of the everyday Afghan people, and the children in particular, have gone largely unnoticed and unmet.  They have endured the pain and agony of twenty years of war and crimes that have devastated their country.   Yet they and their children are the hope and future of a stable and prosperous Afghanistan.  We have been touched by their suffering and as a result all of our recent and current service projects have been focused on doing what we can in concert with other organizations to address the humanitarian needs of as many of the Afghan people as possible. The future for these people and for stability in this region is bleak unless we can provide hope and support in helping them re-establish institutions which meet basic human needs.

Support for Help the Afghan Children (HTAC)

Our initial efforts in Afghanistan began in September 2001 while the Taliban were still in control of Afghanistan and have continued since the subsequent removal of the Taliban regime. We initially provided funds to assist in secret schools not approved by the Taliban and then  followed that by donating funds to provide emergency food and blankets for the unfortunate victims of the resulting conflict that removed the Taliban regime.  This aid was provided through partnering with another non-profit organization, Help the Afghan Children, Inc. (HTAC), founded in 1993,  that has significant experience in dealing with the complexities of providing humanitarian aid to Afghanistan .  "For over a decade, HTAC has supported an average of 160,000 individuals annually through educational and vocational training programs, primary healthcare clinics, home-based schools for girls, and over twenty emergency relief missions to help displaced persons, earthquakes, drought victims, and refugees. And now, as Afghanistan struggles to rebuild its infrastructure, Help the Afghan Children has refocused its efforts to provide quality education to Afghan children by establishing "integrated model primary schools". In cooperation with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Education we are introducing new and innovative pilot-programs such as peace education, computer literacy, basic health, teacher training, and environmental awareness to supplement the regular curricula." (Source: Help the Afghan Children website)

Thirders Foundations, Inc. has subsequently provided significant financial support to assist in the ongoing operations of ARIA Medical Clinic in Kabul, Afghanistan operated by Help the Afghan Children, Inc. (HTAC). "Established in 1997 in the capital city of Kabul, where 65% of the city (including many hospitals and clinics) was destroyed, this clinic is a primary care facility operating 6 days a week. It has a staff of 13 health professionals, of which 12 are female, as well as 7 support staff. In 2003, we added a much-needed family planning program, as well as a Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, to the services provided. The clinic treats an average of 80 patients/day in the areas of pediatric care, internal medicine, mother and child health, vaccination, dental care, and minor surgical procedures." (Source: Help the Afghan Children website)

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Support for the Afghan Health Consortium - Hope Hospital & the Darulaman Health Center

Many of you who have previously given so generously to the work of Thirders Foundation, Inc. are familiar with Dr. Tim Fader and his wife Patti and the many years they spent working in Kenya with the Kijabe Medical Center. After many years in Africa the Faders returned to the USA in early 2003 and began searching out other opportunities to serve the world's less fortunate. They were presented with the opportunity to go to Afghanistan where Dr. Fader would become the Medical Director for the Afghan Health Consortium, arriving in the Fall of 2003. The Afghan Health Consortium represents a varied group of Non-Government Organizations (NGO's) that joined together in January 2002 in order to restore the Noor Hospital. In February 2002 the Ministry of Health and the Afghan Health Consortium signed a protocol agreeing to the reconstruction of the Noor Hospital.

The following excerpts are from a background summary about the Afghan Health Consortium's planned work with Hope Hospital and the Darulaman Health Center put together by Dr. Fader in March 2004.

"The Afghan Health Consortium is a group of Non-Government Organizations that joined together in January 2002 in order to restore the The Noor Eye Institute, a 150-bed hospital on the southern edge of Kabul, built in 1973. For years the hospital was a major center for the care of patients with eye disease, and for the training of Afghan doctors. However, war in Afghanistan forced the evacuation of the hospital in 1994. Thereafter the hospital was severely damaged and looted.  In February 2002 the Ministry of Health and the Afghan Health Consortium signed a protocol agreeing to the reconstruction of the Noor Hospital. The reconstruction of the hospital is nearly complete."

"Since most ophthalmology surgery can now be done on an outpatient basis, the majority of the 150 beds of the hospital will not be needed by this service. Thus the services of the hospital will be broadened. Besides ophthalmology, specialty services in oncology/radiotherapy and pediatric burns will be developed. General services will include OB/GYN, general surgery, orthopedics, adult and pediatric inpatient care, dentistry, and general outpatient care consistent with a District Hospital. The hospital will have a sophisticated laboratory, an imaging center, and a wide range of essential drugs. The hospital will also incorporate a community health program aimed at a population of 300,000."

"The Afghan Health Consortium changed the name of the Noor Hospital to Hope Hospital in order to reflect the changes in its function, and to avoid confusion with the Noor/IAM Eye Program, which has several clinics in Kabul and elsewhere in Afghanistan."

"Over the last two years the Darulaman Health Center, a 24-room facility 3 kilometers south of the hospital, has also been restored. The Ministry of Health requested the Afghan Health Consortium to develop this clinic into a model Comprehensive Health Center. Services at this facility will include maternal/child health, family planning, general adult and pediatric outpatient care, normal deliveries, and minor surgery. Twenty beds will be available for uncomplicated inpatient care. The clinic will provide simple laboratory services. The Darulaman Health Center will serve a population of about 50,000."

"The Afghan Health Consortium will open both of these facilities on 22 March. The Darulaman Health Center will begin with outpatient maternal-child health services and Hope Hospital will open with general outpatient services. Gradually over the next several months other services will be added at both facilities."

"Both Afghan employees and expatriates will staff the facilities. Because of the limited health worker capacity in Afghanistan, the Afghan Health Consortium plans to develop an extensive in-service educational program for its personnel. These facilities will also be centers for the formal training of Afghans in various health care professions. Planned training programs include nursing, nurse anesthesia, medical internship, and Family Practice."

"The Afghan Health Consortium will operate these facilities as private non-profit entities. The long-range plan is for both units to be sustainable in terms of covering operational costs. Major capital expenditures will need to come from external sources for several years. A proportion of operational costs will be needed for both facilities for at least the next two years." 

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Living and working in the current environment in Afghanistan carries with it a unique set of challenges as well as dangers. In spite of these, Tim and Patti have persevered and have seen the tremendous progress and positive impact this important work is having on the many Afghan people touched by their efforts.  Every day they see the positive changes taking place at the hospital and clinic as well as in the larger country. The excerpts below from several of their recent emails testify to the importance of their efforts and the passion in their hearts.

"A 15-year-old girl was among the three patients we saw when we reopened the hospital for care on March 27th. She had a headache, fever, palpitations, and dizziness when she stood up. She turned out to have malaria and anemia. What a joy it was to be able to see patients in Kabul, to make an accurate diagnosis, and to know that she would heal with proper treatment."...

"On March 16th a third-world laboratory specialist from the US came and set up $20,000 worth of  lab equipment. He trained our three Afghan lab technologists in the use of the instruments and will return for a follow up visit later. The lab is rock solid dependable. Many people helped to make the lab a reality. One person, who knew that we needed to have the lab in order to open the hospital, became ill and had to have surgery. As he recuperated friends sent many flowers to his hospital room. He appreciated the thought, but was concerned that the flowers would soon die. What a waste. So he notified people to send money for the Afghanistan lab fund instead. Thus roses became centrifuges, and a young girl was healed as a result."...

"On the day we opened we saw 3 patients. On the next day we saw 5, 10, 17, 22, 35, and then 41. I feel like a skier racing downhill with an avalanche close behind. We could use short and long term help in practically any area of health care and administration. We have an enthusiastic staff of 21, who need training and supervision. If anyone out there can help in any way, we will be most thankful."...

"We are so grateful for all of you who have encouraged us in many ways over our initial months in Kabul. This is, above all, a team effort. The opportunities in Afghanistan today are enormous."...

"An often used phrase asks if one views a glass of water half empty or half full.  That question is very appropriate for Afghanistan today.  Our understanding is that what is broadcast worldwide is mostly from the point of view of the glass half empty.  However, we have determined to look at things from a half full viewpoint.  Everyday we see Afghan people rebuilding their homes which were destroyed in the past wars.  Everyday we see more young girls going to school, which was forbidden just 3 years ago.  Everyday we see at least 100 patients at our two outpatient clinics which were only a dream before March, 2004. Everyday at the clinics we see three Afghan doctors, plus nurses, midwives, lab technicians, and paramedical staff learn more about excellent, compassionate medical care from Tim and other expatriate teachers/role models.  Everyday we see children laughing and playing in the streets instead of huddling in their homes in fear.  Everyday we see trees being planted along the roadsides, replacing those lost during the fighting.  Everyday we see school buildings and healthcare facilities being repaired or newly built to care for the thousands of returning refugees to Kabul.  Everyday we see men beginning new jobs and learning new skills in order to provide for their families. Everyday we see dedicated soldiers from many countries providing security, helping to rebuild the institutions of this land, and encouraging the government in its quest for stability.   Everyday we see more small shops opening as the economy grows and provides for basic needs.  Everyday we see men and women attempting to piece their broken lives back together, looking forward to a brighter future. It is not easy to recover from 23 years of war.  We fully recognize that there are multiple difficulties to overcome.  But, we are hopeful."...

"A Happy, Healthy New Year to all of you. Weren't we just recently all wondering what would happen to computers world-wide when the year changed to 2000? These years have certainly passed quickly. We hope that 2005 will be an especially memorable year for you and your loved ones.... Rebuilding this nation with integrity will be slow-going, but if the direction is right, the long process will be worth it....Rebuilding the health care system in Afghanistan faces the same challenges and we are thankful to be involved in that work. According to the Government's Health Plan, Maternal/Child Health is their Number 1 priority. Afghanistan has the 2nd highest number in the world of mothers dying during childbirth and from complications of pregnancy, so it is certainly wise to make this a priority. Because of the past 23 years of war, infants and children have not been able to receive their immunizations, resulting in deaths and illness from preventable childhood diseases. In Afghanistan, one in four children die before the age of 5 years. There is now a great emphasis on reaching the children who need immunizations. The Darulaman Health Center staff focuses on these priorities daily. Seven Afghan midwives provide 24-hour Maternity service in a clean, safe, caring environment. Tim and a British Obstetrician/Gynecologist enjoy discussing each delivery with the midwives and giving advanced training. Recently a portable ultra-sound machine was donated to the Health Center [by a U.S. charity]. Two Family Practice Residents who came to do a medical rotation at the Darulaman Health Center and Hope Hospital, kindly carried the parts of the ultra-sound from the U.S. in their suitcases. Within the first 48 hours of using the ultra-sound, the British OB/GYN and the Afghan doctor who the British doctor is training, diagnosed two ectopic pregnancies. That was dramatic, and wonderful to have that technology. The word is spreading throughout the villages about this excellent place to deliver babies and receive female care, so the number of births is increasing monthly. We give thanks for each mother and baby who deliver safely and do not become a negative health statistic."...

"Basically, we are where we are due in large part to the help of the Thirders Foundation. We appreciate it ( as do the 81 women who had normal deliveries of healthy babies at the Darulaman Health Center in the last three months of the year (2004))."

"We couldn't be part of this rebuilding process without the financial, prayer, emotional, and practical support that you all give.  Thank you for being part of this effort of Hope for Afghanistan."...

There is not much we can add to this vivid testimony from those directly involved in this critically important work. Not all of us could or would or even should go to Afghanistan to make a difference but we can have a tremendous impact on the success of these efforts and thanks to your generosity Thirders Foundation, Inc. was able to contribute sufficient funds to cover the salaries of the Hope Hospital and Darulaman Health Center staff for last year.

We hope that you will continue to make it possible for Thirders Foundation, Inc. to provide financial support of the these important service projects that touch the lives of so many people by making whatever financial contribution you are able - no amount is too small!

Your tax-deductible charitable contributions can be sent to: Thirders Foundation, Inc., R.D. #1, Box 204, Shelocta, PA 15774. If you prefer the convenience and security of donating online please click on one of the links below.




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Last modified: November 03, 2005