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“A Mylar blanket can literally be a lifesaver if used properly”. These blankets, made of thin plastic material, are heat reflective, wind and waterproof and designed to reduce body heat loss. For the second winter, the Aschiana Foundation has purchased Mylar blankets for distribution in and around Kabul with life saving results.
The inspiration for using the blankets came from Dr. Craig Garfield of Northwestern University Medical Center, who was moved by news stories of children freezing to death in the internally displaced persons (IDP)camps. When he contacted Aschiana Foundation last year, a process was quickly set in place to ship and distribute the blankets. Because of the very positive reports from doctors and recipients, 7200 Mylar blankets were shipped this year.
Dr. Mark Scoffield of American Overseas Relief (AMOR) went to Afghanistan this February to help with distribution to approximately 900 families living in IDP camps supported by the Aschiana Children’s Center. AMOR partners with Aschiana in the operation of a health clinic in the Children’s Center and operates a hospital in Kabul.
The people in the camps live in mud huts, tents, and makeshift situations consisting of cardboard or canvas, with little or no heat. Multiple people share blankets and sleep on bare ground with only a thin rug or covering. Even with sunny days, the nights are often below zero, and the warmth of another body, the only heat source.
Because of illiteracy, a demonstration with the silver side up, is required for effective use. Only men have attended these sessions, and attempts to provide instruction directly to the women have been unsuccessful. Four Mylar blankets, one bag of rice, beans, and cooking oil were given to each family. Providing blankets to families with newborn infants or young children has the greatest impact on saving lives.
Approximately 3,600 blankets were distributed in the camps. Additional blankets will be distributed from Aschiana’s clinic and other outreach clinics where approximately 1,200 women are seen each month. The remaining blankets will be held for use in the fall of 2014. Mylar blankets, developed by NASA for use in space, have had a dramatic life saving impact on people living in the some of the most basic living conditions on earth.
Mrs. Bush praises Aschiana. Go to Aschiana in the News.
Their work often provides the only means of support for their families. They often have only a piece of bread a day and little chance to go to school. Many have lost one or both parents during the many years of conflict in Afghanistan.
Aschiana provides them with hope and a better life. This grassroots program offers them food, healthcare, literacy and vocational training.
The Aschiana Foundation in the United States provides financial assistance to Aschiana to help it provide educational and humanitarian programs that benefit working street children in Afghanistan.