Helping Afghanistan

Posted: Friday, November 19, 2004

Solace International is a nonprofit organization in Anchorage dedicated to building schools for the girls of Afghanistan. In just over a year, the organization's founder, Nathaniel York, and his team have built two schools, filled them with benches and supplies, and outfitted 600 girls in school uniforms.

Money is raised by auctioning carpets, rugs and embroideries from Afghanistan, Turkey and India. At a Jan. 11 fund raiser in Anchorage, Solace International raised $27,000. Anchorage schools are raising funds in the Students Helping Students program. Construction of a new classroom costs $3,000. A teacher kit for one year costs $50. Supplies for a student for two years costs $6. More information on what even the smallest donation can do can be found at

Nathaniel's last fund raiser auction before returning to Afghanistan will be in Juneau on Thursday, Jan. 29, at the Elks Lodge. Wouldn't it be wonderful if schools, civic organizations and the people of Juneau pulled together to match or exceed Anchorage's generosity? In less than a year, girls in Afghanistan could be wearing uniforms, reading books and sitting on school benches paid for by the good citizens of Juneau.

Let's aim for a sellout at the auction. If individuals, schools, or civic groups are interested in collecting donations, please send checks to Solace International at P.O. Box 202636, Anchorage, AK 99520. This is a great opportunity to make a real difference.

Barbara Belknap


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