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GOOD PEOPLE GOOD WORKS Lifesaver of Afghan Women and Children: The Shuhada Organization (In Dari)    
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Today’s Good People, Good Works will be presented in Dari, with subtitles in Arabic, Aulacese (Vietnamese), Chinese, English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Mongolian, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Thai.

HOST: Hallo, happy viewers and welcome to Good People, Good Works on Supreme Master Television. This week’s program features the Shuhada Organization, Afghanistan’s oldest non-governmental organization. Shuhada is devoted to enhancing the welfare and progress of Afghan society, with special emphasis on the upliftment of women and children.

Dr. Sima Samar is Shuhada’s founder as well as a physician and human rights advocate. Dr. Samar is the chair of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and the United Nations Special Reporter on the situation of human rights in Sudan. For six months in 2002, Dr. Samar served as the Deputy President and then as the Minister of Women’s Affairs for the Interim Administration of Afghanistan which governed the nation for two years. Abdul Rauf Naveed, Shuhada’s executive director, now shares with us the history of the group which begins with serving Afghan refugees in Pakistan.

Naveed: (In Dari) The Shuhada Organization was established in Quetta (Pakistan) in 1989. The main goal of its creation has two parts, first (improvement of) education and second (improvement of) public health. We started our first initiative by setting up a 15 bed hospital for the (Afghan) refugees in Quetta, Pakistan. And in the beginning of 1990, we started our services inside Afghanistan.

Naveed (m): Something which got our attention was (the fact that) Dr. Sima Samar, before building the Shuhada Organization, was going to the refugee camps three or four times a week and treating the refugees at the camps where people's health was not good. We decided to build a hospital with a solid foundation and high quality services for the refugees.

HOST: Over the past 20 plus years, the Shuhada Organization has established four hospitals, 15 clinics, 72 schools, two women’s shelters, a multi-service women’s center, a science institute, and several orphanages. Shuhada has provided education to over 60,000 children in Afghanistan, with around 3,500 of these youngsters having gone on to university or other higher education institutions. Shuhada's facilities and programs are located in some of the most underserved and remote areas of northern and central Afghanistan where there are children, many without parents, in dire need of assistance. Those accessing Shuhada’s services now enjoy much better lives.

Inside Afghanistan, Jaghori Hospital was built along with six clinics as well as nearly 72 schools are run by us in different locations in Afghanistan. In addition to the health services and educational works, we spread our services slowly over time, for example, in places with no schools we constructed school buildings. For example, we worked on spreading awareness about human rights among women and also the creation of orphanages for the orphan children who have no guardians. Currently this year we have three orphanages, one in Bamiyan and two in Jaghori, where nearly 163 children live.

We have made a manual, and we try to enhance the awareness of women on their rights in the constitution and civil law. So it is implemented in the high schools and for the teachers. So same with the access to justice. Particularly mullahs or clerics have a very significant role to lead the people, to direct the people. And we train these mullahs, and then these mullahs are going to the community and saying, “Hey, if there is a problem, then we have this system, this mechanism over there, there is the police, there is the attorney general, and there is the court.”

So if there is a case, then we need to go through the process. So this is actually access to justice; promoting the culture of referring (the case) to the police station, referring (the case) to the relevant department. It was a very nice project and the people were very happy. When they gave feedback it was that, “Please bring the same project again to us in the same provinces in distress.” Because by giving information through mullahs or elders, it is more effective. When we are giving (information on) access to justice, it is giving information to the people. So when we would like to implement a project through the help of the mullahs, it is more effective.

We had a sort of training for volunteers. Everyone had 15 people in their team. They were working with the team, giving informational training to the team. Then the team was responsible to give this information, I mean in this different kinds of ways. If there was a wedding party, they were giving information to the people. If there was a celebration of something, they were giving information to the people

HOST: In 2003, the Shuhada Organization completed construction of Karte-solh, a community of 80 homes in Bamiyan Province. Karte-solh means “Peace Village” in Dari. Most of the houses are for widows and their families. Shuhada also established an orphanage in Karte-solh able to accommodate up to 80 children at a time. During 2003 and 2004, when the refugees came back from Iran and from Pakistan, so most of the people didn't have any houses. So there was no place to live there. So the Shuhada Organization decided to discuss this with the governor of Bamiyan. The governor of Bamiyan provided the land to the Shuhada Organization. So then the Shuhada Organization found a lady whose name is Ms. Freni. She's living in Switzerland, she is 85 years old. So she funded (the building of) this village.

So around 80 houses were constructed and built by the Shuhada Organization. And after that those people who were poor and who didn't have any place to live there, (a house was) given (to them) by the Shuhada Organization.

Ali (m): Also here, in Karte-solh village or Peace Village, the Shuhada Organization also established and constructed a center for women, and also a health clinic. In the center for women there is vocational training for the women. For example, there is carpet weaving, there is jewelry production, there is cooking, and jacket weaving (training). These projects were provided for these people to bring in some income for their families. Also, these people didn't have any clinics because of health issues, so the Shuhada Organization also built a clinic for these people.

HOST: The Shuhada Organization also cares for our planet and propagates information regarding environmental preservation in its programs. It has been since the last three or four years that we have had a (government) department called “environment” in Afghanistan... people cut the trees every day, (and because of that) floods and things like that occur.

And (due to the existence of) cars and stuff like that, oil and diesel have been in use quite frequently… power generators and things like that are being used, which from a health point of view, these pollute the environment. That's why we pay attention to areas where at least we could help with promoting the planting of vegetables. Also the use of flood barriers and things like that can help create a greener environment.

For example, Afghanistan has a lot of mountains with green herbs... and bushes or wild bushes which are burned as fuel. For this reason people use them a lot, and we wanted to prevent (environmental damage) through talks promoting the planting of trees. We want to let people understand that similar to when you go to a hospital for treatment, if you keep your environment clean and green... it’s like a hospital, you are treating it yourself.

HOST: Many thanks Dr. Sima Samar and all Shuhada staff members for selflessly seeking to improve the living conditions of disadvantaged Afghan women and children as well as helping to build stronger Afghan communities. May your organization continue to benevolently serve Afghanistan in the years ahead with all success.

My message of peace to the world is that we aspire for a day when something called war doesn’t exist anymore in the world. And we have always had that hope and will have it in the future as well. We hope that all the people of Afghanistan live in an environment of peace and brotherhood.

For more details on the Shuhada Organization, please visit www.Shuhada.org.af

OUTRO (IN DARI): Thank you for your company on our program. Up next is The World Around Us, after Noteworthy News. May our planet always be filled with Heaven’s blessings.
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