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's Promise is an Australian non-profit organisation dedicated to helping the women and the large number of orphaned children of Afghanistanmarker. It is one of the few non-governmental organisations operational in that war-torn nation entirely funded by private donations and currently looks after over 4,000 women and orphans through 90 projects. The organisation with its close knowledge of local conditions valuably supplements the work of UNICEF in the region.


the age of 14, hunted down for being a student activist Mahboba hid from the occupying Soviet soldiers in an underground Kabulmarker basement for 20 days. She then fled Afghanistan, crossing the Khyber Passmarker on foot, arriving at a Pakistanmarker refugee camp hungry and frightened.

Mahboba began the project to help Afghan orphans in 1998 with a small donation in the lounge room of her rented home in Sydneymarker's North Ryde.After the tragic death of her own son, Mahboba slowly pieced her life together by helping other Afghani women, pioneering English classes and even a learn to swim program. A letter from a young Afghani doctor begging for help to save refugee orphans dying on the streets of Kabulmarker encouraged Mahboba and her friends to raise $120.00 that day. To prove the orphans had received the money, the young doctor sent back the children's fingerprints.

The organisation Mahboba's Promise was established as the result of a promise Mahboba made that she would continue to help the orphans of Afghanistanmarker for the rest of her life and she would make people in Australia and the world aware of their suffering and what could be done for them. Since 2001 she has been an active member of Sydney's Afghan community, running English classes for immigrants. Once a refugee herself, Mahboba is still in contact with relatives who've fled to the camps of Pakistanmarker.

The organisation became well known in Australia as the result of a visit to Kabulmarker by Australian Broadcasting Commissionmarker (ABC) journalist Virginia Haussegger.. It is also the subject of a film.

Nature of the organisation

's Promise is funded entirely by voluntary donations (no government funding). Funds are sent each month to Afghanistanmarker where Mahboba’s Promise is a registered NGO. Financial reports are received back from the field and receipts are kept at the Hope House office for inspection. The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and other agencies refer destitute orphans to the organisation as the most suitable facility in Kabul to give practical and emotional support to the most difficult of cases. Mahboba's Promise is a signatory to the Code of Conduct of ACFID, The Australian Council for International Development and Mahboba's Promise NGO in Kabulmarker is an observer member of ACBAR, The Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief.

Notability of the organisation

's Promise is the only independent Australian charity working in Afghanistanmarker. Its staff have local knowledge of the languages, culture and needs of the Afghanmarker people. Many other not-for-profit organizations have been forced to leave Afghanistan as with the ongoing war against the Taliban it is an extremely dangerous country for aid workers.

As Virginia Haussegger states: "[Mahboba's] two orphanages in Kabul and her various support programs outside the capital, including a school for 200 girls in the Panjshir Valley, have not only changed lives and saved lives, they have set an example of what is possible."

"There are over two million widows in Afghanistan, most of them are illiterate and unemployed. Here, there's no such thing as social welfare or government handouts...Mahboba Rawi is an extraordinary woman who has set herself a seemingly impossible task: to help rebuild the broken and desperate lives of Afghan women left destitute by war...Mahboba Rawi's biggest project, set on the outskirts of Kabul, boasts the proud name 'Hope House'. It's home to 106 of the happiest and luckiest orphans in Afghanistan."


External links

Mahboba's Promise. Australian Aid Organisation. (last accessed 15 July 2009)

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