It’s easy to get lost in the notion of comfort, the idea that there are no worries or fears that need to fill our daily lives. Our Fairfield bubble of suburban bliss makes it simple to block out the world’s indefinite struggles and hardships. It’s hard to believe that the images we see on the television are merely a few time zones away. We are writing this article to bring awareness to the country of Afghanistan and to ask for your help in this country’s struggle for recovery and freedom.

The people in Afghanistan have experienced years of turmoil, corruption, and terrorism. These peace-seeking Afghani people have been under totalitarian dictatorships and unstable political systems for many years now. Today, Afghanistan is struggling to rebuild its war-shattered infrastructure from the ground up. The adult literacy of Afghanistan is 47 percent while 53 percent of the population is below the poverty line. Only 64 percent of boys and 32 percent of girls under the age of 15 are enrolled in primary school. Children are unable to attend school because they must work to bring in a portion of the family’s income.

Many families live in tents, temporary camps and remote areas since of their homeland has been destroyed. The United States military has been stationed in Afghanistan for a few years now, rebuilding the country in hopes of creating a stronger economy, a more stable government, and a more peaceful way of life.

Mikaela Conley’s father, Lieutenant Colonel Chris Conley of the U.S. Army, is part of Operation Enduring Freedom, where he works with the leader of the Afghan army and his soldiers to rebuild the country by constructing schools, hospitals, and clinics.

Colonel Conley’s weekly emails to his daughter describe the intimate, heart-rending and hopeful stories that he experiences on a daily basis. The pain and suffering he has seen among the Afghani people, particularly the children, will forever leave a mark in his heart, and in turn, ours. In a recent email from Colonel Conley, he wrote, “One of the soldiers was visibly shaken, with tears in his eyes, because these beautiful little girls were sand covered and blistered from the sun. It has been my experience that this soldier is the norm and not the exception.”

Fairfield University, Afghanistan needs your help. These children live among bomb-shattered roads and mined fields, haunted by images from their daily lives. In effort to help the Afghani people abroad, we, in conjunction with the Students for Social Justice, are organizing events that will benefit the Afghanis through the collection of funds, articles of clothing, and school supplies. We plan on holding an information session, with a PowerPoint presentation and guest speakers, later on in the semester, in hopes of bringing awareness of the situation in Afghanistan to the Fairfield community.

Also, we would like to collect funds throughout the school that we will ship directly over to Colonel Conley to distribute to the children. Please join us in our efforts; our small contribution will go a long way.

To learn more about our project for Afghanistan and how you can help be a part of our project, please attend our informational meeting on Tuesday, October 19 at 8:00 p.m. in Room 204 of the BCC. We hope to see you there. If you would like to help, but are unable to attend the meeting, please send an email to 06_mconley@stagweb.fairfield.edu.

God Bless America and our troops.

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