A Blanket Can Change The World

As the holiday season approaches I can’t help it reflect on the endless blessings coming my way. In January of this year shortly after the holidays I heard a very sad piece of news coming from Afghanistan.  Little children were facing death of cold in the refugee camps in Kabul. I am not using the word death as a figure of speech or to over dramatize this story, during the winter of 2011/2012 almost 100 children died of exposure in the refugee camps.

Since then I have learned of numerous non-profits and individual initiatives aimed at ensuring this does not happen again. Before you deplete your holiday giving fund let me share with you a few highlights, reasons and organizations partnering with local charities to ensure every kid in Afghanistan has a blanket this winter.

You may have many competing interests when it comes to giving but in this case something small and affordable can make a radical difference. A life or death difference.

A Blanket Can Change The World Image is licensed under CC Attribution

How Cold is it in Afghanistan  During the Winter?
This year Afghanistan experienced one of the most severe cold snaps in fifteen years. The city of Kabul experienced temperatures as low as three degrees Fahrenheit and snow as deep as nineteen inches. This pattern is likely to be repeated in 2013. This war-torn country does not have the infrastructure to support this type of weather.

To give you some idea of the type of suffering experienced by children and adults alike in the refugee camps, imagine for minute living in tents during the worst of the winter without the option of heating. Wood is a very scarce resource for fuel resulting in diminished possibilities of lighting a fire. Even when you are able to light a fire inside a tent these fires present a tremendous hazard due to the flammability of tents and the lack of ventilation that increases carbon monoxide.

Are you Crafty?
Consider putting your talent to work by knitting a blanket for a refugee in Afghanistan. www.afghansforafghans.org provides you with guidance on how to create a blanket that will serve the families well for the winter while adding a level of dignity, humanity and care. This website makes sure the types of blankets sent are not only warm but also durable and sensitive to the cultural and religious nuances of the recipients.  I have found a great deal of personal satisfaction in sharing something made with my own two hands.

 Want to go Beyond a Blanket?
One of my favorite organizations, mainly because of their capacity to provide holistic aid at very low cost is www.aschiana-foundation.org Aschiana Foundation works mainly with street children in Kabul but also reaches out to refugee camps as needed. This organization has reached out to the most vulnerable in Kabul non-stop even during the most harsh war conditions. During the 2012 crisis they distributed hundreds of blankets to the poorest and they are ready to engage once again if needed this coming winter. If you are ready for a long term commitment, this organization offers child sponsorship programs for under $260 per year this their efficiency in resource stewardship is truly something to behold.

Before you leave every penny at the mall this holiday season please take a moment to be a beacon of light and hope. A blanket can indeed make a world of difference.

S. L Johnson
About the Author:

S. L Johnson works for a non profit organization in the border of Afghanistan. He helps aid workers learn Pashto.

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