Suraya Sadeed: A Widow’s Grief Turned to Aide for Children and Families in Afghanistan
by Laura Slap-Shelton, Psy.D.
Suraya Sadeed, founder of and executive director of Help the Afghan Children, began her journey back to her native country of Afghanistan when confronted with the sudden death of her husband in 1993. She was a citizen of the United States and had been living happily with her husband and daughter in the United States when she suffered her tragic loss. Struggling with her grief, she returned to her native country of Afghanistan to see how the women of her country who had been confronting tragedy and grief throughout the years of the Russian invasion, the take over by the Taliban, and the current post 911 situation were coping.
Once there, observing the suffering and needs of the children and people of Afghanistan, she found her new role in the world. She created underground schools for girls during the reign of the Taliban. Following 911, when others were fleeing Afghanistan she returned bringing food and supplies and saving the lives of thousands of people.
Her organization, Help the Afghan Children, founded in 1993 has provided aid and education to more than 1.5 million children. Currently, working in partnership with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Education, Help the Afghan Children has created numerous educational programs including peace education, computer literacy, teacher training, and environmental curricula. In March 2006 Help the Afghan Children was recognized by President Bush and Suraya Sadeed was invited to the White House.
In this time of increasing violence in Afghanistan and the apparent attempt of the Taliban to regain power there, it is more important than ever to support Suraya Sadeem’s work. Please visit Help the Afghanistan Children website (http://www.helptheafghanchildren.org) to learn more about this organization and to be inspired by the work of this woman who, once widowed, transformed her grief into a boon for the world.
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