Afghanistan

America's fund for Afghan children

Fact Sheet

The White House announced December 8 the first shipment of relief supplies to aid Afghan children under the America's Fund for Afghan Children program. President Bush announced creation of the fund October 11, and asked American children to send in $1 donations to support it. The White House said that donations to date total more than $1.5 million.

Following is the text of a White House fact sheet on the program:

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THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
December 8

America's Fund for Afghan Children Shipment Departs

The Shipment

On October 11 the President announced the creation of the "America's Fund for Afghan Children." The President asked school children across America to send $1 dollar to help provide important relief to the children of Afghanistan.

The President today is visiting New Windsor, Maryland, to help send off the first shipment of humanitarian aid purchased from funds donated by America's children. To date, American's children have donated more than $1.5 million to help the children of Afghanistan.

The shipment will leave this weekend and will contain vital supplies and some fun surprises for the children of Afghanistan, including:

-- 1,500 tents to provide shelter for Afghan children and families. The Red Cross reports that these tents will provide shelter for approximately 10,000 children.

-- 1,658 winter jackets to help children through the winter.

-- 10,000 gift parcels, including winter hats, wool socks, soap, school supplies, crayons, toothbrushes, hairbrushes, candy, and toys to bring a little joy to children who have endured terrible hardship.

-- Each gift parcel is marked "A Gift to Afghan Children from American Children."

The Flight

This shipment of goods will be sent to the northern Afghanistan provinces of Faryab and Balkh.

Federal Express has donated the flight to take this first shipment to the region. On Sunday morning the plane will depart Dulles Airport for the flight to Ramstein Air Base in Germany. In Germany the shipment will be placed on Department of Defense flights that will then fly the shipment in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. From Turkmenistan, the shipment will be placed on trucks and driven into northern Afghanistan.

Background on America's Fund for Afghan Children

After years of war, drought and rule by the repressive Taliban regime, Afghanistan faces a major humanitarian crisis. In particular, the most vulnerable Afghans -- the more than 10 million children -- are suffering.

Americans are concerned about the welfare of Afghan children and wish to reinforce the fact that America's actions are focused on destroying a terror network and are not directed against the innocent people and children of Afghanistan.

In response to the outpouring of humanitarian concern by Americans, the President announced the creation of "America's Fund for Afghan Children," which will encourage children and their families to contribute to relief efforts for Afghan children. In particular, it is hoped that the children of America will be inspired to make contributions of one dollar -- or whatever they can give -- which can be sent individually or collectively to the Fund.

More than 10 million children in Afghanistan have suffered under years of civil war and drought and now suffer under the repressive Taliban regime:

  • Afghanistan ranks number one worldwide in maternal mortality.
  • One in four Afghan children will not make it to their fifth birthday.
  • One in three Afghan children is an orphan. =A7 Almost 1/2 of Afghan children suffer chronic malnutrition. =A7 Millions face the threat of starvation.

Building on a History of Success

The President's initiative to assist Afghan children is modeled on the original 1938 March of Dimes campaign from the Roosevelt Administration. In that successful campaign, President Franklin Roosevelt appealed to American children to each donate a dime to help eradicate polio. The effort succeeded not only in raising funds for the effort that defeated polio, but also in generating significant interest among American youth at helping others in need. The original campaign was a grassroots effort, supported by the leadership of the President of the United States.

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(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)