Lehndorff reacts to Afghanistan kidnapping
Azalea Lehndorff in Afghanistan in 2011, where she spent about a year for Lacombe-based charity A Better World and its 100 Classroom Project to help educate Afghani girls. (Contributed)
A Lacombe humanitarian, who plans to return to Afghanistan, said she is saddened over the recent reports of a Canadian being kidnapped.
Ottawa is investigating the alleged kidnapping of a Canadian man and an American woman on Oct. 11 west of Kabul.
“I hope that the perpetrators will be brought to justice and that these individuals will be released,” said Azalea Lehndorff who spearheaded the 100 Classroom Project for A Better World to help educate Afghani girls.
According to news reports in Afghanistan, the two were abducted while they were driving in Wardak province.
“I think of their families in this difficult time and the many uncertainties that they are facing and hope that they will be released unharmed,” she said.
Lehndorff, who has spent extensive time in Afghanistan, is aware of the risks.
“Kidnappings of foreigners is not a new occurrence in Afghanistan, and poses a risk not only in Afghanistan, but in Pakistan and many other countries throughout the world.”
Lehndorff said she also thinks about the 14-year-old Pakistani girl, Malala, in the Swat Valley who was shot at her school last week for promoting education for girls.
“She is fighting for her life right now. The only crime that she has committed is the voice that she has given to thousands of girls like her in the Swat Valley, where the Taliban ruled until 2009. She has spoken strongly about the need for girls to have the chance to go to school, and now she fights for her life.”
Lehndorff said she is often asked if she plans to return to Afghanistan.
“I will answer that question by returning to the simple ideal that Malala stands for. When considering the decision, I think of the millions of children in Afghanistan and Pakistan whose future has been jeopardized by the threat of the Taliban, and who only want a chance to look forward to a more peaceful future.
“These children have asked for education. These children need their voice to be heard.
“I do plan to return in the future and to continue my work with A Better World to build schools that the communities of Jawzjan Province have requested.”
Lehndorff, who graduated from Canadian University College with a B. Sc., is now attending University of Alberta working to wards her MPH of Global Health. She started the 100 Classroom Project in 2009. So far $480,000 has been raised with a goal of $1.5 million. By July 2012, 32 classrooms were completed.