Story last updated at 3:49 p.m. Thursday, October 31, 2002

Homer group's kindness knows no borders
by Chris Bernard
Staff Writer

photo: news

  Photos courtesy of Kindness Without Borders
This photo e-mailed recently from Afghanistan shows a co-ed elementary school in Kabul damaged during the American bombing and restored with funding from a Homer group called Kindness Without Borders. The repairs are temporary, and permanent restoration work is expected to take place in the near future.  
A Homer group formed in the wake of the Sept. 11 tragedies has helped a group of Afghan children return to school.

Kindness Without Borders and its 10 or so members recently donated $1,000 to a school in Kabul that was damaged in the American bombing of Afghanistan.

The money has helped make temporary repairs, and will eventually fund reconstruction of the school, said Charlotte Adamson, a Homer resident who is spearheading the Afghan project for Kindness Without Borders.

The group formed about a month after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C.

"We got started after our president's response to Sept. 11," said Kate Finn, one of the group's founders. "Things were hitting such a fevered fear pitch that we really wanted to counter that with the greatest kindness we could muster."

In addition to the core group, which meets the first and third Saturday of each month at the Vessels of Hope building on Pioneer Ave., there are 10 or so people who attend some meetings and who donated to the school, Finn said.

Like the formation of the group, the Afghanistan school project came about as a direct response to President Bush's decision to bomb Afghanistan.

"We were trying to find a way to reach out to Afghanistan, to respond in some positive way to all the negativity that was happening," Adamson said.

She contacted a nonprofit organization called PARSA, which works to help widows and homeless people in Afghanistan, and asked what the Homer group could do.

"We found out they had a school near their offices in Kabul that was destroyed in the bombings," she said. "There was no roof, and no windows and doors, and the walls were all damaged. The kids were out in the open doing their schooling."

PARSA was funneling supplies to the school from clandestine schools for girls that it was running in Afghanistan, and was seeking a better source of funding, Adamson said.

Enter Kindness Without Borders. Through donations, the group quickly raised $1,000, the amount estimated to complete repairs to the school. The money was sent to PARSA in April.

Thanks to the funding, the elementary school is now open six days a week to 500 students per session, three sessions each day.

Recently, Adamson received photos by e-mail showing the temporary repairs to the school.

"Communication is difficult," she said. "When the Taliban moved in, they had to move their offices to Pakistan, and e-mailing was hard for them. Now they're back in Kabul, but they still have to go to an Internet cafE to check e-mail, so communications are really slow and long between."

Permanent repairs to the school are planned for the near future, she said. In addition, the group is trying to extend its support indefinitely by paying for an art teacher and supplies on a continuing basis.

"We're working with PARSA to figure out if the Afghani government will even allow an art teacher to come into the school," Adamson said. "Nothing is definite, but we'd really like to continue our support."

Kindness Without Borders is involved in several other funding projects as well. Adamson also heads one that is raising money to build a self-sustaining orphanage in Nepal.

The group welcomes donations. For information, contact Adamson at 235-2725.

Chris Bernard can be reached at cbernard@homernews.com.

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