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Doffie Rotter of CT Builds a Library – For Orphans – In Kabul, Afghanistan

Hartford, CT. I met retired psychology professor Doffie Rotter recently in Connecticut.  She sponsors ten children in Afghanistan through CharityHelp International (CHI). Doffie has also founded a beautiful library for orphans in Kabul, which may be viewed on YouTube.

Doffie Rotter in Connecticut sponsors ten children in Afghanistan through CHI.

Andeisha Farid, the founder of the Afghan Child Education & Care Organization (AFCECO), has become Doffie’s close friend.

I had lunch with Doffie in Hartford recently to meet this amazing woman.  Doffie told me:

Andeisha visited me in Connecticut in 2007.  When we talked I learned that the children in the orphanages had no access to a library.  Public schools there have none, and a public library is not accessible.  

So we decided we could build one in the Mehan Orphanage – the largest of the AFCECO orphanages.  What we needed was books and videos, and we needed money.

So I contacted every school in my (small) Connecticut town – and a number of churches.  I suggested to them that just about everyone here has lots of children’s and teen’s books lying around their houses unused and unwanted.  Videos as well.

The “Doffie Library” of Kabul is in AFCECO’s Mehan Orphanage – their largest orphanage.

I loved the idea of children helping children, so I went to the Mansfield Middle School for an invited talk.  I told them about the orphanages, about the children, about Afghanistan.  This school, in particular, took the library on as a project.

Doffie shipped hundreds of donated books and DVDs from the U.S. to Afghanistan.

They collected several thousand books and held fundraisers for our Library Fund on the CharityHelp International website.  They had fundraising parties, too.

The children of AFCECO’s Mehan orphanage are in the good hands of Andeisha Farid.

The Goodwin Elementary School held a faculty-student basketball game and raised some money.  St. Thomas Aquinas church collected books and videos from their parishioners.

Laptop training is offered in the Doffie Library in Kabul where
children are able to stay in touch with their overseas sponsors.

A number of individuals also donated money for the library, and some anonymous Starbucks customers made nice donations in a basket placed in our local coffee hangout.

AFCECO’s Mehan Orphanage in Kabul has more girls than boys.

I shipped the books and videos to Kabul.  The money went toward buying books in Farsi, so that the library would not be all-English.  And the wonderful staff at AFCECO built a gorgeous library in the Mehan Orphanage.  The whole project was done quickly.

Libraries can stand in for health clinics when there are not enough health clinics!

One especially gratifying outcome: this library is used for everything.  The children from all three Kabul orphanages read and study there, write letters and draw pictures to send to their sponsors, and use the computers which were donated.  

The orphans have really taken to their Mac laptops.  Doffie is a Mac aficionado.

They have birthday parties in the library.  And, they regularly hold what they call “Art Parties” there as well.  These parties are wondrous!  The children sing and dance (in costume), put on dramas, recite poetry, and have debates.

It has turned into an all-purpose room, and all credit goes to the AFCECO staff for keeping the library so beautifully furnished, with cheerful and seasonal decorations all around.

Doffie continues her work though Hope for Afghan Children, the home of a group of people who have become child sponsors and orphanage founders through the work of the Afghan Child Education and Care Organization (AFCECO).

Their excellent and informative website is the work of Rose Vines.  Co-founder Terry Cardwell wrote me recently that she too is inspired by Andeisha Farid, AFCECO’s director in Kabul.

Kristen Rouse is the founder of a wonderful group called Veterans for Afghanistan which partners with Rose, Terry and Doffie. I hope to interview Kristen before she is deployed back to Afghanistan.

Doffie Rotter with AFCECO’s Andeisha Farid, visiting the U.S. last summer from Kabul.

Related Stories on International Children’s Projects by Jim Luce

New Year’s Resolution: Sponsor an Overseas Child in 2010 (Huffington Post)

First One Orphan, Then Many More (New York Times)

Andeisha Farid and the Orphaned Children of Afghanistan (Huffington Post)

Orphans International: Raising Global Citizens (Huffington Post)

Ian Pounds Sells Vermont Home, Moves To Kabul To Help Orphans (Daily Kos)

Chatting with UNICEF’s Director Ann Veneman (Huffington Post)

Orphans in Afghanistan Thrive Due To CharityHelp International (Daily Kos)

Originally published in Daily Kos, Thursday, January 28, 2010

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