ISAF leaves a legacy for Scouting in Afghanistan
Once again Scouting in Afghanistan witnesses a series of activities in Kabul, one of them is the Basic Unit Leaders Training course with 26 participants for both male and female members coming from Kabul and Jalalabad. The Asia Pacific Regional office is organizing this course from 2nd to 8th July in Marastoon, Kabul at the newly refurbished Scout training centre. The centre has basic facilities such as session hall, meeting room, dining hall and dormitory.
The course is organized on the request of PARSA, a non-government organization, which in recent years, has been instrumental in the expansion of Scouting in Kabul and other districts such as Bamiyan and Ghaur. They now have 517 Scouts and Cub members, of whom about half are female. This membership is spread in 13 orphanages and five schools. PARSA employs 11 full time staff to run the scout program in the orphanages. It is believed that in Jalalabad, there are about 1,000 Scouts within the school system under the sponsorship of another NGO, Afghanistan Research and Services Organization (ARSO) led by Dr Tajuddin.
APR Director Thian Hiong-Boon is leading the course, assisted by a leader trainer from India, Mohamed Ahmed Shakeel, and two of the new local woodbadge holders – Gul Mustafa and Tamim Hamkar.
At the course opening ceremony, the Asia Pacific Regional Office recognized the key personnel of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) with special appreciation certificates for their work in enhancing the Scout program. Regional Director Abdullah Rasheed presented a certificate to Major Daniel S Williams, an Eagle Scout of the Boy Scout of America, citing his invaluable contribution in re-building Scouting in Afghanistan during his military service there. Others who received recognition were Chad M. Rowe and Sergeant Lindsey A. Smith. In fact, Major Williams will leave Kabul soon after his term.
Part of the ISAF legacy are the Scout Training Centre with adventure bases, campfire circle, some camping equipment, and a Scout leaders handbook translated into Dari. ISAF also provided over 2,000 Scout uniforms and other materials for the recently recruited members.
The Marastoon Red Crescent Compound in Kabul is being prepared for a Scout camporee on 7-8th July for 50 Scouts from Kabul and Jalalabad consisting only of boys. ISAF is providing equipment and materials for the first-ever camporee in recent history. The campfire will offer Scout skills training, obstacles, adventure bases, and a grand campfire where participants of the Basic Training Course are invited to join.
On behalf of WOSM, the Asia Pacific Regional Office has been supporting the revival of scouting in Afghanistan since 2003. Several training courses for unit leaders have been organized, of whom 17 have achieved their woodbadge.