Our History

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The great Buddha of Bamiyon before its destruction in 2001.

Mary Mac­Makin founded PARSA in 1996. Through the 1960s and 1970s and into the 1980s, Mary worked as a phys­i­cal ther­a­pist in the hos­pi­tals of Kabul. She re­turned in the early 1990′s to teach phys­i­cal ther­a­pists in Talo­qan, a city in north­ern Af­ghan­i­stan, and later to teach in the cap­i­tal, Kabul. Af­ter ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the des­per­a­tion of the wid­ows in the spring of 1996, she de­cided to es­tab­lish a non-gov­ern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tion (NGO) to pro­vide com­pre­hen­sive ser­vices to dis­abled Afghans and to the wid­ows and or­phans of Af­ghan­i­stan.

Through­out its his­tory, PARSA  fluorished under Mary’s leadership. De­spite difficult times including im­pris­on­ment un­der the Tal­iban and ex­ile to Pak­istan, Mary con­tin­ued to ex­pand PARSA.

In the spring of 2005, Marnie Gus­tavson and Dr. Norm Gus­tavson joined Mary to as­sist her in tran­si­tion­ing PARSA into an Af­ghan-di­rected NGO. Marnie, who has an ex­ten­sive back­ground in pro­gram de­sign and im­ple­men­ta­tion in liveli­hood pro­grams for mar­gin­al­ized pop­u­la­tions, is now the Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of PARSA.

Market 1968

PARSA’s work un­der the di­rec­tor­ships of Mary Mac­Makin and Marnie Gus­tavson has al­ways been pred­i­cated on the premise that the well-be­ing of vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple is best served by a holis­tic ap­proach to the health of the pa­tient and that in Af­ghan­i­stan at­ten­tion also has to be given to the eco­nomic cir­cum­stance, fam­ily sit­u­a­tion, and men­tal health of each pa­tient. PARSA has al­ways strived to as­sist each per­son to be­come a func­tional and con­tribut­ing mem­ber of his or her fam­ily and the com­mu­nity.

 PARSA’s commitment is to support Afghan professionals and leaders as they develop social protection programs for vulnerable Afghan people. We have an integrated program approach and we work with other agencies and government organizations while we deliver our programs to leverage our work, transfer our expertise to other agencies, and contribute to the development of good social protection systems and policy.

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