This wonderful news comes to us from Afghanistan.
It’s vital to remember that for every narrative of loss and sadness, there is a story of strength and generosity, as is the case with Afghanistan’s Youth Scout programme.
Mohammad Hamkar decided to relaunch Afghanistan’s budding scout programme in the 2010s from a property of almond and peach trees on the outskirts of Kabul, after growing up in the midst of conflict for more than 40 years.
He and his NGO partner Marnie Gustavson, an American who recalls living in Kabul during more calm times, have been trying to improve the lives of rural boys and girls through international scouting assignments.
Hamkar and Gustavson saw the potential of the Merit Badge in offering young people a worthy route to follow in life as members of the NGO PARSA (Physiotherapy And Rehabilitation Services for Afghanistan), which focuses on rebuilding Afghan communities.
Hamkar has educated 600 volunteers to be scoutmasters and also claims to have 10000 scouts across the country and is happy to have been re-accredited by the World Organization of Scout Movements, re-establishing scouting as a national activity for the first time since 1931.
However, when refugees swarmed into parks throughout Kabul after the Taliban reclaimed power. Hamkar and his scouts took charge and they set up a safe, functional campsite with tents, sleeping bags, and other emergency supplies where 45 displaced families could find shelter, food, and water. When the Taliban learned of what was going on, they accused Hamkar of teaching Christianity, which he was able to refute easily. Soon after, the Taliban government gave PARSA permission to continue its operations, which included the scouts returning to the streets and outskirts of Kabul to extend a helping hand and, presumably, to continue earning merit badges.
Image Source: Scout