02 Nov. 2008
PR# 2008-581

School supplies light up Afghan students’ faces

Army Maj. Trever Nehls and school leaders distributed supplies to Afghan students.

KABUL, Afghanistan – The Zabul Provincial Reconstruction team recently distributed school supplies to young Afghan schoolchildren eager to learn.

The school supplies were a gift from Westfield Community School students in Algonquin, Illinois. The school supplies donation drive was an idea generated by the school Principal, Korry Belin, after he heard about the Afghan students need for basic school supplies.

"I just wanted to help in some way," Mr. Belin said. "I asked that each student bring in one school item to help a school in Afghanistan, and they did. It was the nicest thing to see these little children and the smiles they had [knowing they were helping]."

Army Maj. Trever Nehls, Zabul PRT civil affairs leader, coordinated a delivery date with all of the key school officials.

Afghan government representatives, school officials and PRT members gathered to present the supplies in a classroom very different to that seen in a Western elementary school. The classroom had no desks or chairs; instead the students sit on a matted floor. The chalkboard, cracked with age, also sat on the floor; there were no computers or electrical equipment in the room as power is not always available.

While speaking to the students, Gulab Shah, the deputy governor of Zabul province, said, "The PRT has been helping Afghan students. They are building a dormitory not only for young citizens of Zabul,  but for students from other provinces. What the PRT brings to you is essential for a student - they are showing their support to Afghan people. We are very grateful to the PRT, and we appreciate their efforts."

"When I see a smile on an Afghan child's face as the results of our efforts, whether it is something as small as a pen or a pencil, it is a positive story," Major Nehls said. "It is something that we find very encouraging as members of the PRT."

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/