Q: Where do the children come from? Are they all really orphans?
A: Since the House has a protocol with the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, most children at the House are referred to us by the Ministry. In Afghanistan ‘orphan’ means having lost one parent, so some of the children do have one parent. However, we accept children only in cases of extreme hardship or when a parent/relative is unable to care for their child.
Q: How long do children stay at the House of Flowers?
A: Most children stay a number of years. Children leave either when they are old enough and strong enough to join their relatives (and we insist that they stay in school when they do) or when their relatives move from Kabul and take them with them.
Q: Do you maintain contact with the children who leave?
A: Absolutely! One of the most gratifying things is when a child who essentially grew up in the House comes back to visit his/her “brothers and sisters.” The House staff always makes it clear to children who leave that they always will have a place at the House, and it is obvious that the children take this seriously because of how often they come back to hang out with the other children and the staff.
In some cases, MEPO has helped families through food or financial support as well to help them get back on their feet. The staff keeps in touch with families and children to make sure that the children are still going to school and how they are doing in general.
Q: Can we adopt a child from the House?
A: Adoption of Afghan children is extremely difficult, as the Afghan government is loath to let any more of its children go. They also have a general policy of only approving adoptions to Muslim families. We have not been involved in any adoptions of children from the House of Flowers.
The new addition of the nursery for abandoned infants has made adoption an important topic. As of October 2012, however, there is still no clearcut way to adopt these babies.
Q: What is the plan for the future of the children?
A: Futures are always unpredictable, but particularly in Afghanistan. MEPO is committed to running the HoF as long as donors’ financial support and government approval make it possible. We have had a number of close calls over the years when we were afraid we would have to close, and even now, October 2012, is one of those times. But we have great hope that money will come through and the children will continue to be provided a stable place to live and grow.
Beyond the House of Flowers, our hope is that the children will continue to study through to University and hopefully, aided by the strong inner foundation that they are building now in their youngest years, will become sources of strength and guidance for their families, community and society. For those who may not have university studies in their future, we plan to begin helping them learn some vocational work such as carpentry, etc.
Right now, as of October of 2012, Razia, the oldest child in the House is in 12th grade and is preparing to take her college entrance exam. If she scores well enough, she will be able to go to college for free at Kabul University, where she wishes to study to be a doctor or a teacher. Waheed and Basir, the two oldest boys, have part-time jobs right now and have been promised full-time jobs as loan officers once they graduate from high school next year.
In the future, we plan to undertake special fundraising efforts in order to support the children’s higher education goals. If you are interested in this area of support such as locating scholarships for the children, please let us know!
Q: Who runs things at the House of Flowers?
A: The Afghan staff of the House does! They are fully responsible for the operation of the House. We are in touch with the staff through email, phone and occasional visits, but they take care of everything. They are extremely skilled and capable. MEPO offers ideas and support from afar, but the staff, along with the supportive management of HEWAD, are the ones who really make the House of Flowers a success. To get to know them better, please go to The Staff.
Q: Can I send things to the children at the House of Flowers?
A: Recently we have discovered that the regular mail post seems to work now. So if you are interested in sending things, please go to the How To Send Things page for a description of the kinds of things that would be needed by the children and the address in Kabul.
Have Another Question? If you have a question that is not answered here, please do not hesitate to write and Contact Us.