17 Aug. 2008
PR# 2008-397

ISAF provides aide to refugee camp

KABUL, Afghanistan - More than 70 ISAF soldiers from 14 nations provided aide to a local refugee camp here Aug. 15 as an ongoing effort to make a difference in the quality of life of citizens in the local community.

U.S. Air Force Chaplain (Captain) Christian Biscotti helped establish ISAF’s first Voluntary Community Relations program.

"We have gone on missions to orphanages, schools and children's hospitals and service men and women that go on these missions get the benefit of seeing first hand the importance of taking care of people's personal needs for example, food, shelter and clothing before a nation can be rebuilt and stabilized," Biscotti said. "ISAF missions put Afghanistan and our mission in context, in four dimensions, and helps ISAF not spend four, six, or even 15 months in a make-believe world behind an iron curtain."

In preparation for the trip to the refugee camp, ISAF volunteers spend hours packing more than 200 garbage-size bags with items for the refugees.

"For the past several weeks, donations have come from all over the world," Biscotti said. "We were receiving 30 boxes a day filled with school supplies, clothes, shoes, medical supplies, toys, stuffed animals, snacks, candy, blankets and sleeping bags."

Most of the volunteers have been on several missions, while for others it was their first.

"It really puts things into perspective and makes you appreciate everything you have in life," said Stepanie Zandbeek from the Danish Navy. "Being able to see a smile on the faces of the children made it all worth it to me."

Danish Army Master Sergeant Henrik Jenson found much satisfaction in his first mission.

"The fact the refugees were going to benefit from the many things we distributed was satisfying," said Henrik. "Being able to give of myself was rewarding."

Although Biscotti is gracious for each and every donation, the resources are secondary.

"We are the gift, our love for these people and our actions," Biscotti said. "When I go back home to the States, there is no way I can ignore the need here in Afghanistan."

The chaplain thanked the ISAF members who volunteered their time and energy.

"After 31 missions we have been able to take a total of 440 military personnel from 14 different nations outside the wire," said Biscotti. "Humanity, humility and harmony are three words that should unite us at ISAF. We have made a huge difference and together we can change the world."

Contact Information ISAF Public Affairs Office
Tel: +93 (0)799 51 1155 - Mobile: 0093 (0) 799 55 8291 pressoffice@hq.isaf.nato.int - www.nato.int/isaf/