US ambassador dedicates playground at Ghazni orphanage

ISAF Joint Command
Courtesy Story

Date: 12.15.2010
Posted: 12.16.2010 09:00
News ID: 62089

KABUL, Afghanistan – U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry and the Ghazni Provincial Reconstruction Team paid a special visit to the Ghazni City orphanage Dec. 15 to dedicate playground equipment donated by the family and friends of Steven Thomas Stefani of Auburn, Calif.<br /> <br /> Other attendees at the dedication were Ghazni Provincial Gov. Musa Khan, Polish Ambassador Maciej Lang, and Polish Brig. Gen. Andrzej Reudowicz, Task Force White Eagle commander.<br /> <br /> While working for the U.S. Forest Service in Wells, Nev., Stefani discovered the opportunity to take a nine-month assignment as a U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service advisor, helping the people of Ghazni province develop and implement agricultural projects.<br /> <br /> When he found the Ghazni City orphanage had been so torn apart due to conflict that they didn’t have a playground, toys or even soccer balls to play with, he contacted his family and friends back home asking them to contribute to this new project.<br /> <br /> As the plan was developing, Stefani’s convoy, returning from another mission, hit a a roadside bomb and the 28-year-old was killed.<br /> <br /> His family decided to carry out his vision of a playground for this orphanage. They accepted donations in Stefani’s name to cover the cost of the playground equipment and shipping it to Ghazni province.<br /> <br /> Today, Ghazni is still a province with insurgent activity and roadside bombs. Getting the equipment here was a complicated matter plagued with delays, but reconstruction team members got the playground ready for use once it arrived.<br /> <br /> The orphanage is a fulltime home to 45 children and hosts a total of 120 children for the school day. It is led by orphanage director, Mir Ameenullah, and staffed with seven teachers and an administrator.<br />