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Everyday Heroes in Today’s Afghanistan


Each day, men and women from the United States and Afghanistan are meeting throughout Afghanistan, from the markets of Kabul to the homes of tribal elders in the northern, southern, eastern and western corners of the country. They come from different backgrounds and different cultures, but what unites them is their shared dream of a prosperous, secure, pluralistic, free Afghanistan. The Embassy will periodically highlight their work in this section of the website.

Afghan-American Kahlil Rahmany, a clinical psychologist from California, has contributed to Afghanistan’s reconstruction by opening psychological clinic’s throughout the country. These clinics provide Afghans with desperately needed counseling and medication. In the aftermath of three decades of war, a staggering amount of Afghan men and women suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and mental illness.

"The purpose was to reach out to the war-stricken, primarily women and children," said Mr. Rahmany. "People have not only lost their lives and loved ones and parts of their bodies, they've lost all they've owned."

Across the country in Vermont, Sally and Donald Goodrich dedicated themselves to helping the people of Afghanistan in the wake of their son’s death on September 11, 2001. Through a six-year odyssey, the Goodriches have honored the memory of their son by confronting terrorism the only way they knew how, by reaching out to other cultures and faiths with the goal of mutual understanding and coexistence.

As an educator, Sally was inspired to help restore a system of education for girls and give them the skills they need to play a central role in Afghanistan’s future. She raised nearly $250,000 in a quest to build a school for 500 girls in Afghanistan and to help fund two other schools and an orphanage. A year ago, Sally and Don had the honor of traveling to Afghanistan to witness the dedication of the school.

A recent trip brought Sally to the school in the midst of classes, following the start of classes at the beginning of spring. To read more about this trip please click HERE and for more information about the Peter M. Goodrich Foundation, please visit:

The spirit of bridge-building between the U.S. and Afghanistan is alive and strong in two books written by Americans who have lived and traveled in Afghanistn. Deborah Rodríguez’s Kabul Beauty School: An American Woman Goes Behind the Veil, describes the author’s experiences opening a beauty salon in Afghanistan. The salon became a safe place for many women, and encouraged them to seek financial independence by providing vocational training.


Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at a Time, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin, details the an American man’s struggle to build schools in Afghanistan following a failed attempt to reach the peak of K2 in Pakistan’s Karakoram Himalaya. After being nursed back to health in an impoverished Pakistani village, Mortenson noticed the village’s 84 children sitting outdoors, scratching their lessons in the dirt with sticks, because the village could not afford the $1-a-day salary to hire a teacher. The book describes Mortenson’s attempts to build the village a school. In twelve years, he has more than met his goal, building fifty-five schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan to date.

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