Easing human suffering in war zones tests commitment to humanitarian goals. Three decades of violent conflict, civil war and insurgencies make Afghanistan a dangerous place, but not too dangerous for thousands of NGOs that operate with stunning courage and conviction.
Global partnerships battle poverty, protect the environment, reduce child mortality, improve health, increase education and combat disease where bullets fly and territory changes hands. Young volunteers come from many religions, backgrounds and nations: Brazil, Canada, Germany, England, India, Iraq, Israel, the Philippines, Scotland, Sweden, Uganda and the U.S., to name a partial list.
In Afghanistan, NGOs abide by life or death rules, none more pivotal than strict neutrality. “This means we don’t take sides,” says a leader in the NGO sector. “We try to remain at equal distance from all armed groups.” Neutrality protects NGOs, beneficiaries and eases passage of supplies across hostile borders.
“We were here before the war,” says an international volunteer. “We’ve been here throughout the war and we’ll be here in the years to come.”
What is an NGO? Learn more in this excellent video from Kestrel Creative: