In May 2015 I went to Kabul to help the two selected girls’ schools – Sir Asia and Nahjube Herawe – with basic school equipment. We had the possibility to help only 200 primary school pupils with the money we had collected so far. We decided to fill 100 school backpacks per school, each filled with a variety of 10 kinds of school supply.

Before I could go and hand out the school materials to the girls, I had to ask permission from the directors of the schools. Not everyone can enter the schools, because it might be dangerous for the children. With the help of neighborhood representatives we eventually got the permission. They also helped to find a smaller school when it turned out that we could not offer our school supplies to the Mahjube Herawe school. The director of that school wanted either to offer all 400 children a backpack or no one, since she was afraid that others would get jealous. These neighborhood representatives then helped to contact the Mermon Khajo school.

We handed out the school supplies on different days at the two schools. The children were very happy. We had asked Mohamad Musa, a photographer, to join us in order to record how the children responded to the gifts. Also in order to be transparent to our donators and to show to whom the school materials have been handed out. We also asked the children to make a drawing for the donators in order to thank them. We have photographed them together with their painting – proudly smiling.

There have been several moments that I was deeply touched. The first time was at Sir Asia school, when I noticed we had two backpacks shortage. I told the teacher, who checked the list and discovered that two girls of 7 years old had sneaked into the classroom, in order to get a backpack as well. The teacher expelled them from the classroom. They left with tears in their eyes, because they came also from poor families but they got nothing. I felt very sad for them, and I went to arrange extra backpacks especially for them, on my own account. I could not leave them without anything.

The second time I was deeply touched was at Mermon Khajo school. In this school boys and girls were in the same class. We decided also to hand backpacks to poor boys in the classroom. When the first boy in the classroom received a backpack full of school supplies, he was so happy that he hugged his backpack with tears in his eyes.

Some girls put all their school materials in their new backpack and threw away their old bag. For me that was a beautiful moment, which made me very happy, but at the same time so sad. We are only a drop in the ocean. But we should not forget that that ocean is made out of drops too…

-Parwin Zamani