Confront repression, abuse and natural disasters
Two local women who run nonprofit organizations helping women and children in war-torn Afghanistan where the Taliban took power and gang-infested Haiti where two natural disasters last week claimed thousands of lives and left more homeless people asking for help from the Aspen community.
Susie Krabacher, who created the non-profit organization HaitiChildren in 1994, will travel to Haiti on Monday to help come to the aid of those in Petit-Trou-de-Nippes in the department of Nippes, where an earthquake of 7, 2 struck on August 14.
Located about 80 miles west of the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince, the hard-to-reach region has also suffered hundreds of mudslides and landslides due to Tropical Depression Grace.
On top of that, the country has been ruled by an interim government since Haitian President Jovenel Moise was assassinated on July 7 and gangs have widely invaded neighborhoods across the country.
“The gangs and the government have come to an agreement and they will pass up aid and medical care for a while,” Krabacher said last week.
HaitiChildren employees mobilize on the ground in Port-au-Prince and buy supplies to distribute to victims in Petit-Trou-de-Nippes.
Haiti Children coordinates with mayors, who are in touch with their residents to find out who has lost their home and who needs help.
People will receive a voucher and when HaitiChildren employees reach them, they will receive in exchange a 75 pound box with emergency aid that will last up to two weeks.
They will receive assistance to transport the boxes to their neighborhoods, which are not all accessible due to impassable roads.
Krabacher is currently raising funds for this effort; $ 27,000 was donated Thursday and the goal is $ 100,000.
“This community has been incredibly kind,” she said, adding that she and her husband, Joe, had responded to calls from community members asking how they could help. “100% of the money goes to the victims, not a dime is wasted because our people know how to do it and they are tough as nails. “
The HaitiChildren orphanage fell in the 2010 earthquake and the association rebuilt a 70,000 square foot village, which includes three schools, three residential care buildings, two on-site medical clinics and a mobile clinic.
Schoolchildren in the village prepare emergency relief boxes with food, toiletries and handwritten notes that will let the victims know they have suffered the same fate and send them their love.
“We have enough experience with this stuff with disasters,” Krabacher said. “Our people are in place, we are mobilized and send advanced teams. “
Another Aspen woman, Paula Nirschel, founder of Action for Afghan Women, remains in contact with its contacts on the ground in Afghanistan since the Taliban took power.
“It’s horrible,” she said. “The women are very scared, their families are scared… people stay at home for safety reasons and just by going out they can lose their lives.
“This is horrible stuff that I hear,” she continued. “We’re on a one-day-at-a-time basis, what’s going to happen tomorrow… but let’s not stop what we’re doing. “
Nirschel’s nonprofit, and another it launched 12 years earlier, the Afghan Women’s Education Initiative, have empowered dozens of women in that country by providing them with the opportunity to obtain four-year university degrees and creating the largest education program in Afghanistan.
Nirschel was involved in Afghanistan and its people before the terrorist attacks of September 11, when she learned of the oppression of women, who do not receive adequate medical care, if any, and are denied education and participation in sports and the arts. .
“They were denied everything that people deserve,” she said. “I was losing sleep so I decided to be part of the change, as Gandhi says.”
Currently, Action for Afghan Women is training an Afghan woman to become a doctor, who in turn can train women to become midwives and provide the medical care they deserve to their peers, Nirschel said.
She fundraises organically, by meeting people, telling them about the organization and letting them decide to donate.
Nirschel said she wanted the community of Aspen to keep Afghanistan in their prayers.
“I consider myself to be a kind of flute player, and I just want to keep hope for Afghanistan and its people,” she said. “At a grassroots level, keep your thoughts with the Afghan people and on ways to help. “
Nirschel said she can facilitate and ask people to email her at [email protected].
Nirschel is hosting a Socrates Coffee Weekend at Here House on August 28, focusing on Afghanistan. A panel discussion will include Nirschel, two Afghan women and a possible additional guest.
Nirschel founded Action for Afghan Women in 2013 to help reduce abuse against women in extremist areas of southern Afghanistan.
In 2001, the Afghan Women’s Education Initiative was established with the mission of educating future Afghan women leaders in business and politics.
“I am doing what I can to maintain the thriving mission of educating people about the country and its people,” Nirschel said. “I can see the trickle-down effect that when you educate one, you educate a lot.
“The way we look at the last 20 years in Afghanistan, many are educated and you can’t take that away from them. “
Nirschel said she has not been to Afghanistan for several years due to the danger there, but will go when it is safe.
Krabacher, CEO and founder of HaitiChildren, said she would fly directly to the area where she would help load a 40ft sea container because it is safer and she will get there faster.
She told a story in which 32 of her employees were recently detained at gunpoint on a bus traveling near the coast. They were able to escape but the people on the next bus who were not affiliated with the organization were shot dead, Krabacher said.
She will be in Haiti for two of the four missions planned over the next few months.
Further efforts will focus on providing shelters, mattresses and coffins.
“I’ve seen so many miracles, but it doesn’t look good,” Krabacher said. “It’s amazing the resilience of these people.
Nirschel said she appreciates what Krabacher’s organization is doing for the Haitian people, and Krabacher in turn has said she will pray for the Afghans.
“I think it’s great that we both do things from our community,” Nirschel said.