As it was Max’s 21st birthday I had the good fortune to meet his Mother Dr Sarah Fane, Dr Fane is a very inspirational woman, she will receive an OBE in January 2014. She was told about it on the Queen’s birthday, Saturday 15th June 2013. Dr Fane was awarded the Order of the British Empire for services to charity and in particular her services to the children of Afghanistan.
It all began when she was a medical student in Afghanistan when the Russians were at war there. She worked in a mother and child hospital. She returned to Afghanistan under the rule of the Taliban and was inspired to set up the charity called AFGHAN CONNECTION (link) in 2002.
They began focusing on health issues giving vaccinations to 72,000 children and concentrated on maternal health. Then the charity twinned 20 schools in England to ones in Afghanistan – creating a teaching programme, writing letters and posting them out to Afghanistan. The charity raised funds through schools in the UK. The children in Afghanistan had no school buildings so the charity raised the funds to start building the schools.
In the last 3 years the project concentrated in one area, Worsaj in the North East (Hindu Kush) none of the women Dr Fane’s age could read or write, so they built schools for the children who could not reach schools due to the remoteness of the area. At the start of the project 800 children were in the schools they set up. These were children who could not access education due to the distances involved to attend established facilities. The charity trained 450 teachers in that region, and built 8 new schools for over 5,000 children and helping the local education department. The charity have been invited to do the same again in another district nearby.
Dr Fane’s son (Alex) noticed that the Afghan cricket club had climbed their way up the cricket leader boards. Going from bottom of the world rankings to 15th in no time at all. The sportsmen came from refugee camps and are now considered heroes within their own country. The charity obtained support from the M.C.C. in London and have run big summer camps involving over 2,000 children, both boys and girls. The Afghan team came to the camps to help teach them the children. The charity obtained coaching for some of cricketers to help them to become professional coaches.
In recent years Dr Fane’s focus has changed to education and cricket rather than her initial interest in health.
To close the interview I asked her what she would change.
She answered that she would like to give the children in the schools a proper future, after constant war for over 30 years, to create a more peaceful country and give the women more rights.
I wish Dr Fane every success in the important work that she does. It was an inspiration to meet and talk with her and I will take away a different perspective of Afghanistan.