Briquettes Into Bridges

Team Members’ Blog

Message from Dina about the viral video challenge

I just want to take a moment to publicly thank John Stettler for his generous offer to donate $1 for every video that gets watched during this challenge. Not only is it raising the money for us to continue helping displaced Afghans recover from war, but because of this effort, the whole world is discovering that every day civilians really do have the power to bring hope to what seems to be the most hopeless place on earth.

The positive feedback we have been receiving from people all over the world is nothing short of amazing.

Thank you, John!

Message from Dina

Today is the beginning of an exciting week for Briquettes Into Bridges!  Team member John Stettler has offered a brilliant challenge to not only raise money—but awareness–for this groundbreaking project, by offering a$1 donation(up to $10,000!) for every visit we get to the videos over the next seven days.

Already, people around the world are posting this notice to their Facebook pages, blogging and telling their friends that they, too, can help support our efforts to rebuild Afghanistan simply by watching our videos!

Have you told your friends yet?

Message from Dina Fesler

Welcome to the launch of “Briquettes into Bridges,” our groundbreaking, peace-building project that will bring the world together while creating financial independence for displaced Afghan families and provide positive options for at-risk people caught in a very difficult world situation.

The idea for this project began last December when I had the chance to meet many of the children living in the Charahee Qambar IDP camp during my trip to Kabul. They lack proper food, clothing, shelter, healthcare and education. They live in conditions unfit for human existence, and play amidst open sewage, garbage and roaming wild dogs. Worst of all, they are unable to turn to their parents for security and comfort. When I saw a tiny baby lying on the ground, his father told me that the baby was dying and that he had no means to do anything to save him. With tears in his eyes he asked me if I would take him as a last possible hope of saving him, while the baby’s mother sobbed inconsolably from inside their mud home.

That was a life-changing moment for me, and begged the ultimate question: what lengths will a desperate parent go to in order to ensure his children’s survival?

In this case things turned out okay. Our team took baby Rahim, and his father Mira Jan, to the hospital where, fortunately, doctors were able to save him in time. Despite our already busy work schedule, we went to the hospital every day to check on Rahim’s progress, visit with Mira Jan, and simply let them both know how much we care. Over the course of two weeks, it became clear that our role in Rahim’s recovery involved much more than just paying his medical bills. Likewise, Mira Jan’s personal stories as a war survivor struggling to care for his family humbled us more than words can say. We discovered that the bond that linked us—our love for our children– transcended nationality, race, religion and socio-economics. We became friends.

So our team rolled up or sleeves and got to work, starting with the launch of the Helmand Children’s Medical Fund (Phase I) where we went back to the camp and got 386 of the most critically ill camp children desperately needed medical treatment.

As of today,  the larger goal of Briquettes Into Bridges (Phase II) is to help the camp parents create sustainable incoming generating businesses so they will never be in such a desperate position that they have to give their children away, or join insurgencies, for survival.

But we have another important goal, as well! It is to give the opportunity for other Americans and Afghans to become friends. For the next three months, you are invited to follow along on this unprecedented adventure as six inspirational Afghans trainees and six inspirational American project donors come together to share their lives and stories, communicate on the training and business launch process, and offer mutual encouragement, support and inspiration. You will discover that Afghans and Americans are more similar than we are different. We all love our children, we want them to be strong, healthy and successful adults …and we are willing to work hard to support them.

Our children are the future of the world; Afghan children, as well as American children. By helping these families get back on their feet economically, we are working to ensure a safer future for all our kids.

-Dina Fesler

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