May 2017, PARSA finally had a breakthrough in our 8 year campaign to have a national Scout program, and to reregister Afghanistan with the World Organization of Scouts Movement (WOSM). Before the war with the Russians, Afghanistan had a 20,000 strong Afghan Scouts Program, that started in the 1940’s and was registered with WOSM as a part of the international movement that includes 40 million Scouts today.
PARSA started our campaign for a national Scouts program when Tamim Hamkar and Gul Ahmad Mustafa joined us in 2009 to help us with our fledgling programs in the orphanages. They had left the Ministry of Education Scout program because they said “There was no program”. They were both in an intensive training program with WOSM to become certified to conduct Scout Master trainings. The journey that ensued over the last 8 years has be difficult with government offices blocking our efforts to establish a community based program. It is a long story of betrayal, hostility and negotiations that someday we will tell, because our perseverance is a testament to how this country is changing because of the commitment of Afghan Leaders like those on PARSA staff to a stable future for Afghanistan.
Because of our work at PARSA, youth in all provinces now will begin to have Scouts programs. And the international Scouts community will start to support these programs with funding, training and international opportunities to learn about Scouts in different countries.
We have many, many people and agencies to thank on this long and arduous path, starting with the Asia Pacific Region of WOSM who have sent trainers to Afghanistan for over 10 years now in the hopes that a national program would take hold. The US Embassy has funded us through their small grants programs for the last 7 years. Many small donors have paid for uniforms and materials for activities. We are a testament to the power of community effort to bring change in one of the most difficult situations in the world.
And after 8 long years, our real work begins!!!