by Emily VanVleck – NFBPWC Member | Afghan Women Project Committee Member
This past weekend was the most rewarding since becoming a part of the NFBPWC. Our club, as a part of the National-level Special Project for Afghan Women, has worked tirelessly for the last month and a half to conceptualize and implement a plan to help the displaced women from Afghanistan arriving in the US. This weekend I witnessed firsthand the fruits of our labor. Our chapter collected a donation of over 14,000 head coverings and sewing materials that we delivered to a military base where the newly arrived families are being processed. We were met by an escort who graciously answered questions and referred to the Afghans as “their guests.”
I was able to see Afghans sitting outside chatting and playing pickup soccer games across the yard. Our escort told us the soldiers on base love to come and play with the guests and that a soccer tournament had even been established. However, the most special part of this experience was the kids, which there were a lot of! One particular group was very excited to say hello and to give us fist bumps. After the exchanged fist bumps, one of the kids walked up and gave me a hug that absolutely melted my heart. Little did I know that was only the beginning of my blessings. After the first hug, another kid came forward to hug me, then another. Before I knew it, I was getting hugs from the whole group of kids. When it was time to say goodbye I had tears in my eyes and the biggest smile on my face.
I have never felt so grateful and proud to be a part of an organization. When returning to college, my goal was to help people - this weekend I truly felt I was achieving that goal. It has been an exhausting route to take our project from an idea to what it is today in just over a month. Seeing the families and children waiting to begin their lives in the US made every bit of effort worthwhile.
I am inspired by the courage it took our Afghan allies to leave everything they knew behind to start life anew in a strange place. I am inspired by the work our military and various government agencies continue to do to support our Afghan allies. I am inspired by the numerous organizations and individuals who have come together to welcome these newest Americans to our home.
Above all, I remain inspired by all the women I am privileged to work with at BPW. Meeting that group of kids is something I will never forget, I still cannot believe I experienced such a special moment. What started as a strenuous day of work delivering a donation turned into my biggest source of motivation and inspiration to work even harder.