We all know that there are so many things that could be put to good use here. But it's important to only send things that are appropriate for this conservative culture. It is very expensive to ship and distribute items so here is the critical information before you get out the boxes.

Information for all shipments:

  • Please consider including in your donation an Epson PictureMate print pack (T5570) which includes 50 printing photo sheets and color cartridge. We take pictures during distribution visits and can print from a portable Epson printer in the field. Pictures we can take and give out become treasures for Afghan families. Around $30/each.
  • Wrapped hard candies are a wonderful addition – nothing perishable or meltable please!

Information for all clothing shipments:

  • Think SKIN – they cover it up… no bathing suits, shorts, sleeveless blouses, and nightgowns. Nothing that needs mending or washing because remote villagers don't have the necessary resources. No underwear unless it is brand new. Please avoid items with large logos. Some cartoon characters can be ok for children, but most of our t-shirts featuring company or place advertisements are inappropriate.
  • Think FLEECE, FLEECE, FLEECE, and more FLEECE. Think waterproof rain jackets, down, or poly-filled ski Bib Overalls – all sizes. Think Wind blocker Jackets. In the mountains the temperatures are beyond freezing with wind-chill.
  • Please categorize by Gender. Items can be mixed in the box but then categorize by sizes. Ie: Girls – Toddler, S,M,L – or if more specific by age like 4-8, 10-14, teen.

Information for infant clothing shipments:

  • Everything that you can think of they need. Think baby shower – swaddling blankets, fleece sleeping traveling bags, diapers and rubber pants, Desican rash cream, Bag Balm can or similar, sleeping hats, any clothes.

Information for girls' clothing shipments:

  • Underwear if new, bras if Plain cotton – no lacy stuff, no Victoria Secret ANYTHING!
  • Long sleeved anything, sweatshirts, shirts, sweaters cardigan or button or zip (make sure zippers work!) No holes please.
  • Pants – all long, no shorts. Pants can be any washable material, patterned – they mix and match – or not at all!
  • They love, love, love party dresses! Any holiday dresses that have been worn once and given away because it’s outgrown is great. They wear these dresses every day of the week, or on special occasions like “Eid”. They are darling! The younger girls can wear short sleeved.
  • Sweatshirts, Jackets, Vests, Hats, Scarves, Mittens, Gloves.
  • SOCKS, SOCKS, and more SOCKS – most don’t have shoes, they wear “flipper slip-ons” or sandals and socks. Without the socks – they are barefooted in winter.
  • No jeans for girls.

Information for boys' clothing shipments:

  • Underwear like “Fruit of the Loom” cotton with matching t-shirts. – Make a set.
  • Blue Jeans OKAY – make sure the zippers and buttons work. – no holes, rips please even if it is the “fashion”.
  • Sweatshirts, Jackets, Vests, Hats, Scarves, Mittens, Gloves.
  • Shoes in good condition, tennis shoes, and boots – these kids walk everywhere and go through shoes like you wouldn’t believe. Most kids will walk 4 miles every day to go to school in each direction!
  • SOCKS, SOCKS, and more SOCKS – most don’t have shoes, they wear “flipper slip-ons” or sandals and socks. Without the socks – they are barefooted in winter.

Information for women's clothing shipments:

  • BIG Bulky Sweaters, button, zip, or pullover are great. The longer the better. Car coat length.
  • Loose pants, dark colors are safe. – Nothing like jeans, leggings, tight sweat pants. But loose sweatshirt material pants can be worn under their dresses.
  • Like everyone else – heavy wool, or heavy cotton socks, warm up socks that are bulky.
  • Shoes but think rural mud/dusty village compounds. – and easy to slip on and off. No one wears shoes in the house, so they are constantly taking them off. Everyone turns down the heel.
  • FLEECE vests, sweaters, jackets.
  • In general go for the large , XL. XXL as women will wear big and bulky.

Information for men's clothing shipments:

  • Often men are the most left out – but they need it just as much. They are the ones who must go out, and walk miles. They are in the elements more than anyone. They are the people that are the caretakers for our orphans and guards for our villages. These are the men that take care of their families no matter what. They are just as vulnerable if not more!
  • WINTER Face hoodies – like the ski masks. Or Military mountain face and head gear. We need as many of those as you can possibly supply. Down or poly-filled jackets – as long as possible (covering the butt!) it’s freezing! And they are outdoors sometimes all night. Ski Bib Overalls for cold. Rain ponchos.
  • Working Coveralls, or jacket/pants like the “Carharts”. These can be life saving in our winters. Ski gloves, working gloves. Scarves.
  • Wool or heavy cotton socks – as many as possible.
  • Wool Vests mostly large size.
  • Shoes, hiking boots, working boots, tennis shoes – again, they walk and work the most and their shoes are either falling apart or not at all. Some where a little rubber slip boot that only goes up to their ankles and have no support. – Just think sturdy.
  • In general go for the large , XL, XXL as most of the men can wear large or more even if they are medium.

Information for school supply shipments:

  • EQUAL Amounts of everything! In distribution to children and communities everyone needs everything and it can easily get out of control if there is unfair, unequal, or looks like anyone is left out. Therefore, if a school has a registered count of 500, for instance, we will wait until there are 500 packets or whatever. The following items should accompany each other or it makes no sense to distribute as the families will have no way to make up for what is missing.
  • Important: Include in every box of school supplies several boxes of the real “ZIP LOCK GALLON FREEZER” Bags. We need this to re-bag all the individual packets for each child for a seamless fair distribution.
  • Pencils - If you have a single pencil count – such as 1000 pencils, please include 1000 eraser tops, 1000 sharpeners. If you are collecting BOXES of pencils, make sure for every pencil in every box has the eraser tips and sharpeners. Don’t send us boxes and single pencils unless everything equals out. Thank YOU! However, Boxes of “Golf Pencils” is very much appreciated for “little hands”.
  • Crayon Boxes – they can be different manufacturers but please keep the “count” the same. ie: 12 crayons per box, 24 crayons per box, etc. DON’T ask for crayon boxes. Specify exactly and the count.
  • Scissors – preferable one per child, but if this is too much, we can make up ART boxes, or Teacher boxes that have maybe 60 scissors for one class at a time.
  • Glue Sticks – at least 60 for a class, preferable one per child.
  • Notebooks are the most important. Large 8x14, spiral or tear off is fine. ONE per child. They have no opportunity or money to buy paper. Kids save their notebooks, don’t use them because they don’t want it to be gone. TWO per child is even better – sometimes the parent will take it.
  • Teacher Boxes -  Rolling Ball Liquid Pens, preferable to Bic (those dry out for some reason). Tape (masking and regular rolls of tape) scissors, paper clips, colored tacks, art stencils, stickers for good work, sticky pads, Notebooks, Marking pens (thick and thin) Chalk and eraser, Mechanical graphite pencil refills, stapler with box of staples.
  • Art supplies: All the colored construction paper you can send in different sizes. Suggestion: Go to your local Art store, framing store. Usually they “throw out” at the end of the day huge quantities of framing paper – for example. If one of their customers comes in to have a picture framed, they buy the board, a machine cuts out the opening (like an oval shape)… the oval insert is thrown away, and the rest of the board they purchased minus the “Picture Frame”. You will be amazed at the quantity of waster and wonderful free colored and great paper for construction art projects. Please take the time to research this, tell the manager what you are doing and they usually will make a box to save these things for you. They will tell what day to pick it up, or to come at the end of the day. This is a great resource of waste product! Also ask for left-overs of other supplies that may be opened for when they make displays and there are left over boxes of things like glitter, paint, whatever. Send us poster paint, big Paint Brushes and we will make Identifying Donor Poster Boards as we distribute so you can see where it went and they see the donor!
  • Principal Boxes: Desk supplies, Plastic Blow up Globes, set of stationery, pens or whatever you can think. It really makes a nice gift.
  • Teaching Aids; As many maps as you can send. Maps of the World Maps of Afghanistan Maps of the Region Plastic Blow UP Globes – (lightweight and flat when shipped but a great teaching tools
  • Books: Eyewitness series of Country books – they are mostly pictures and very simple English. “Dick and Jane” English books – very simple… any preschool picture books – good for teaching: Nouns, Numbers, Colors, Shapes, Animals, Birds, Plants etc. All the simple English books with pictures are great.
  • Videos: - Movies that are educational – or Disney type entertaining, or documentaries like “March of the Penguins” Sesame Street series, Baby Einstein – entertaining and educational Animal Kingdom The Sciences: all about the ocean, mountains, stars, planets etc. National Geographic videos Discovery Channel.

Other donation ideas:

  • Used or new watches. Everyone needs one, not many have them. Ask friends, classrooms, entire schools, your workplace, to have a used watch give-away week. Ask them to bring a working watch – please make sure they understand they must be working – we don’t have batteries. Everyone in the US has several watches – give one away. These make great “incentive” gifts to students, teachers, workers, or just to give to kids on the streets. I am surprise how many people will go out and just buy a new watch – and some are really quite nice like the “Swiss Watches”. Pocket watches are a prized and esteemed gift to a village elder!

Ideas for collecting donations:

  • Go to your local sporting goods store, ask for last years leftovers from the corporate office – anything that is camping gear related fits into the daily life of rural villagers. Ask for mis-sized products, returned, ripped (and then mend it) Ask for anything that can be a corporate donation. Tents, Rain Ponchos. Garage sales at the end of the day – cheap!
  • Go to your local Hardware store and look for Men’s outdoor yellow rubber work jacket and pants – any size. I’ve purchased them for as little as $10 on sale and it’s a great thing to give someone because they all work outdoors cutting wood, hauling things etc.
  • Go to factory outlets – ask for corporate donations – a lot of times they will give away truckloads one time a year with a “letter”. Go to “BIG DOG” online, or if there is a local store near you. They do this and it’s easy. Think Patagonia, REI, Big 5, etc.
  • Go to Ski Swap Meets – things left at the end of the day are pretty cheap or will give away if they know what it’s for!
  • Go to garage sales, estate sales, St. Vincent De Paul, Goodwill, Church Bazaars – ask for the left-overs, not sold items – or buy nice but cheap.
  • Have a “Baby Shower for Afghan Babies” and have all your guests bring new/used from friends their outgrown baby clothes. Go to your local hospital find out who your local “midwife, Lamaze trainers are” They know EVERYONE who has had babies and they are a great resource for collection!

When you're finally ready - Essential Packing Instructions:

  • In EACH box, include boxes of Hefty Steel Plastic bags – we will re-pack depending on the type of distribution.
  • Please write out your own “Packing Slip” that is slipped in a plastic see-through baggie taped on the outside of the shipping box so that we don’t need to open the box just to know the contents.
  • Boxes should weigh no more than 50-55 pounds.
  • In each box please tell us who you are!
  • DO NOT, and I mean DO NOT write Kabul Afghanistan anywhere in the address. It only serves to confuse and misroute items through the US military system.
  • Use the following address EXACTLY:
    Line 1 - WIDS (POC Cell # 0799-774671)
    Line 2 - c/o Kathleen Rafiq
    Line 3 - APO, AE
    Line 4 - 09356

What you can expect to receive in return:

  • Letters of Receipt
  • Pictures of distribution if possible
  • Distribution to “Rural Children, schools, and communities”
  • Organized, fair, and equitable distribution according to your donations and collections.
  • Heartfelt thanks
  • If you also send us some “Poster Paint” and big brushes, we can paint signs of who this is from, and the village we are distributing to so that the pictures will reflect the event.

If you have any questions, please contact Kathleen Rafiq.


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