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Cindy Barrett helping boy

One Grandmother Makes A Difference By Helping One Boy

Helping Others News Story – Submitted by Kathy Palmer, Lake Mary, FL

A 12-year-old Afghan boy who lost his legs in a mortar attack last year is attending one of Kabul’s best schools, thanks to a “Nightly News” viewer.

Grandmother helping Afghan boy

In November, “Nightly News” broadcast a story about rising civilian war casualties in the wake of a dwindling U.S. war operation in Afghanistan. Obaid was one of several children hospitalized for injuries inflicted by the Taliban.

Cindy Barrett, 67, a grandmother and regular “Nightly” viewer, saw the report and wanted to make a difference.

“I had a very emotional response to it. And I think in part I connected with this boy because I have young grandsons and my grandchildren are healthy and strong and athletic,” Barrett said. “They’re growing up in a relatively safe and privileged environment and we have some of the best medical care available to us here. And the contrast was just too much for me to ignore, to see this child.”

So Barrett, who retired from the advertising business in 2009, donated a few thousand dollars — and it changed Obaid’s life.

Her contribution paid for books, a school uniform and at least one year’s tuition at a private school in Kabul. He’s now one of the top students in his class and is learning English. His latest goal? To become a heart surgeon.

Watching him succeed and eventually attend medical school, would be “amazing,” Barrett said. She hopes that one day he’ll use prosthetics, and walk without crutches.

“I know that there are countless children who have injuries like Obaid and it’s impossible to help all of them,” Barrett said. “But it’s not impossible to help one of them. And that’s why I’m glad I have this connection.”

You can be helping children like Obaid tooIf you’d like to help civilian victims of war, please visit the website Emergency USA.

EMERGENCY initiated efforts in Afghanistan in 1999 with the establishment of the Surgical Center for helping War Victims in Anabah, a village in the Panjshir Valley, an area at the time under the control of the Northern Alliance.

In 2001, EMERGENCY opened a second Surgical Center in Kabul, a city under Taliban rule at that time.

In June 2003, EMERGENCY opened a Maternity and Gynecology Unit, adjacent to the Surgical Center in Anabah. This facility provides free of charge qualified assistance to women and babies living in an area with one of the highest mother and infant mortality rates in the world.

In 2003, EMERGENCY built a third Surgical Center in Lashkar-gah, located in Helmand province where there was a complete lack of specialized surgical facilities

Throughout the country, EMERGENCY has created a network of 36 First Aid Posts (FAP) and Public Health Centers in order to guarantee rapid treatment to patients and when necessary their transfer to a hospital for specialized treatment.

Starting in 2001, EMERGENCY began providing healthcare to patients in some of the country’s prisons. Additionally, a carpet producing cooperative, offering employment to marginalized women in the Panjshir Valley, was set up.

Since initiating efforts in 1999, EMERGENCY has treated over 3,940,996 million people in Afghanistan.

Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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