05 Nov. 2008
PR# 2008-595

ISAF provides assistance to refugee camp

Commander Greg Harris talks with a young patient of the burns ward at the Indira Ghandi Institute of the Child, the sole hospital in Afghanistan that specializes in pediatric care.

(High resolution photo)

KABUL, Afghanistan - Although it was an early morning, members of ISAF’s Volunteer Community Relations and Resources’ appeared in high spirits as they geared up for a goods distribution mission at the Indira Ghandi Institute of the Child, Afghanistan’s only functioning pediatric hospital.

The group is made up of servicemembers and civilians of the many different nations that work for the International Assistance Security Force headquarters in Kabul.

Among the vistors was U.S. Navy Lieutenant Jessica Gandy, has completed multiple visits with the group in the six months she has been deployed to Afghanistan.

“I really wanted each person to look each child in the eyes and show them love and hope and that they were cared about. Visits like this always pull on my heartstrings. I’ve been at this hospital quite a few times, but it’s always nice to see the children light up; and we don’t have to speak Dari or Pashtu because love is universal.”

The visit also served as a learning experience for those members of the group who had yet to visit the hospital like Army Sergeant Carla Hockaday, who has been an active member of the VCRR since her arrival to ISAF in September.

“Knowing the country and knowing how the people live, I didn’t expect much, but I was impressed by the facility and how they are able to work with what little they have,” she said. “It was a joy playing with the kids and it really shows us how blessed we are – speaking from an American point of view – and how much we take advantage of what we have.”

Gandy said she plans to have a weekly mission with VCRR to include more hospital visits as well as visits to different schools.

The children’s hospital distribution followed last week’s visit to the hospital by Air Force Chaplain Eric Whitmore, who had an introductory meeting with hospital director Dr. Al-haj Khalilullah.

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/