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A haven for children in Kabul

by Subrata De, Nightly News senior producer traveling in Afghanistan with Brian Williams

"Please come inside, please tell them it is not safe for them to be out there."

I'd just walked inside the high walls of the orphanage compound run by AFCECO (Afghan Child Education and Care Organization). Andeisha Farid, the NGO's Executive Director was waiting and worried.

Before most shoots like this, Brian Williams and the crews prepare outside, getting him "wired up" with a mic so that we can record his audio while he walks into a place where he'll be followed by a camera. We didn't want to make a big fuss inside around the kids, so we were preparing just outside the gates.

But Andeisha advised we enter the compound immediately. NGO's -- especially those that have worked to provide education and safe havens for girls and young women -- are often targets in this country. Thankfully, this place hasn't suffered any retaliation, but the threat is still there.

Guards are posted at the door all night and the girls are only allowed outside for school each day.

And yet, once you step inside this place, the fears and threats that have begun to encroach on Kabul melt away. A huge flower garden added a burst of color to this cheerful and warm home for 67 girls and 15 boys. Children spilled out of the doors to greet our group.

It's Friday,  a day off here in Kabul and throughout the Islamic world. We'd arrived for lunch and a few girls were busily preparing the meal. It's there, amidst the cutting of vegetables and peeling of pomegranates, that Brian sat down to talk to the woman he profiles tonight for Making a Difference.

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Andeisha Farid is a refugee herself. Displaced by the civil war, her family fled to Iran. She's striking with a solid determination and a steel will that she's clearly passing on to the girls here at the orphanage.

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All of us were and all of you I'm sure will be deeply moved by this small patch of goodwill and hope in the middle of a city that has experienced so much hardship. It's a real testament to the resilience of the people and to how much hope they have for their children, their future.

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How to help:

Afghan Child Education and Care Organization (AFCECO) is an Afghan non-profit organization based in Kabul, founded by a group of volunteers in 2001. They are working with international partners in the United States, Italy, and Australia on projects that benefit Afghan children.

If you would like to sponsor an Afghan child, please visit:  www.charityhelp.org/afceco
Or if you would like to make a donation online:

P.O. Box 5820
Kabul, Afghanistan

Click here to watch the report.