21) The children’s art exhibited at a gallery in Kabul! – Dec. 11, 2013

Kevin Avers and Rameen Javid of the New Rotary Club in Kabul have done it again – provided a new cultural experience for the children of the House of Flowers while also raising awareness and funds! Last year they hosted a bowling party fundraiser, and now just two days ago, on Wednesday December 11,  Rameen Javid hosted an exhibition of the children’s art at his gallery in Kabul, The Galleria. Below is Kevin’s email describing the evening:

“Yes we had a great turn out and the children had a really lovely time.
We started on schedule at 5pm with the children coming in over in 2 taxis, accompanied by Fahim and my friend Ibrahim. They had sent pictures over earlier during the day, and these were set up on stands on display. Rameen did a great job hosting at the Galleria with sushi, biscuits, potatoes, drinks etc laid on, some artists and musicians playing in the background, a good set up.
We needn’t have worried about the number of people who would turn up, as in the end it was great, probably 30 odd came along I’d say and most made a small donation too. 
Everyone circulated, chatting, viewing the art on display and of course talking to the children. The event finished almost magically at 7 pm as planned and the kids headed back, I hope full and very happy. We gave them a set of Afghan themed playing cards each as a little token of the evening.
For a ‘spur of the moment’ event we were very pleased and we hope to do similar in the future. From the Constellation art project aspect, we did explain to people what it was all about, but the main thing is that we have a small amount of funding now to go toward materials, which is a good result.
Next stage is we’ll discuss all at our Monday meeting and take it from there.”
The commitment of the New Rotary Club is incredible. We are so grateful for their support as for the enrichment that they offer the children through these wonderful events!

20) Happy Holidays! One year later, a message from MEPO and the House of Flowers

This message was sent to donors and friends of MEPO in mid-December 2013.

An Island of Love and Harmony: The Birthday of the House of Flowers

October 2002 – present

One may ask, how could there be an island of happiness, security and love in the midst of a sea of instability and cross-fire between militaries and militias? Yet for the last eleven years our eyes, ears, and hearts have witnessed the shift from poverty, uncertainty, and negligence to vigor, vitality and passion for learning for more than 50 children in the House of Flowers. Undeniably, a magical feeling fills the House where those children have captured the hearts of the staff. Enduring the hardest financial situations while also turning down more lucrative positions, the staff have unquestionably shown their dedication to the service of these children, going beyond any conventional description of ‘holding a job’. We in MEPO strongly believe it is the power of LOVE. That also describes the conviction of the donors to the House of Flowers who have never forgotten those striving children. We salute these loving, interactive souls and hearts.

It was exactly one year ago that the House of Flowers was in grave danger of folding due to financial strain. But thanks to the responsive generosity of donors and their commitment to the Montessori model, the House survived and became even stronger. We are now undertaking our fall donation effort to build funds for next year’s budget. It is crucial that we collect funds for next year’s budget, and also to have more members who commit to monthly support. 

We hope you will be able to continue to be a part of the global network that supports these children’s lives. The future of Afghanistan is in limbo, which is why these children need our commitment more than ever.  

With gratitude to you,

Mostafa, Allison and MEPO

19) Beautiful Healing Afghanistan book is out! Fall 2013

As promised, Judy Duchesne – Peckham’s book of photography of the House of Flowers, Healing Afghanistan,  is out! And it is beautiful. A large, hardback full color book in this time of digital books is a real treat, especially when it features the children that so many of you all have been supporting for years. This book has pictures from when they were very young, and it is a marvel to see them then and now and realize how much has happened in their lives and how wonderfully they have matured.

There are also written commentaries by Mostafa Vaziri and Allison Lide, co-founders of the House, as well as three of the House of Flowers staff, who offer touching and poignant perspectives on their work at the House of Flowers with the children.

The book is very reasonably priced (under $40) and all the profits go to the House of Flowers! You can see more details at healingafghanistan.com

18) Frightening news from the House of Flowers, Thanksgiving Day

All this time, we’ve been waiting for something like this: on Thanksgiving Day we received an email from Dr. Inayat at the House of Flowers: a bomb had gone off within 100 m of the House at 8 am. It was a great blessing that no one was hurt, but some windows at the House were blown out and it was terribly frightening for everyone. (The apparent target was a nearby private high school where government workers and affluent families send their children.)

The smallest children of the House of Flowers were off at school, and some of the staff were just arriving that morning. After the blast went off, the remaining children sat in a room with their teacher Fatima while the staff locked the gate and stood guard as police and security swarmed the area.

It was a wake-up call to be ready, and our staff are now working on emergency plans, training the children on where to go in the case of such events, such as taking shelter in the basement of the House.

It is a sign of the times that this bomb did not even make the news. As the security scene shifts in Afghanistan, we must be ultra-careful with the lives of the children and staff at the House of Flowers. We remain committed to their lives, even as other NGO’s are pulling out in fear of the future. But they need us now more than ever.