15 Jun 2012

Caring in Kabul – Channel 4 News viewers help family

It was back in the biting cold of a Kabul January that Guncha Gul and his family first came to the notice of Channel 4 News viewers.

Mehran Bozorgnia’s harrowing images of Najib aged nine and his brother Hajib aged eleven out in the rubbish heaps picking plastic for recycling for 14 hours a day, had an immediate impact.

We’d scarcely got back to the UK before we were feeling the effects. Viewers contacted Channel 4 News asking how they could help the family.

We considered various options, viewers were keen to help on a long-term basis and provide some means of insuring the children would ideally be off the streets and into school – and perhaps the family might have somewhere better to live than a freezing mud room, in the corner of a compound in Kabul.

To cut a lot of form filling short, this month we’ve set the family up with a bank account at their local branch of Kabul Bank.

Thanks to the generosity of our viewers around £100 per month will go from a British account set up specially, to Kabul, to transform the lives of this family.

I can report that the children have been registered for the local school and Najib and Habib are no longer forced to collect plastic on the streets all day long. 

Further, the redoubtable Mahmood, our long time Kabul “fixer” – he of the beard and suit in the pictures – is keeping a close eye on the family and ensuring the money is spent as it should be.

The world is a busy place. Many things compete for the attention of our viewers. And times are hard here in the UK. But what strikes you here is the way in which people kept true to their promises and desire to help a family in desperate straits, as the months went by setting all this up.

To them, my thanks on behalf of Channel 4 News for their quiet patience, for caring, for making a difference.

You can follow Alex on Twitter @alextomo

Tweets by @alextomo

8 reader comments

  1. K Hughes says:

    Makes such a refreshing change to see the Western media portraying the people Afghanistan as something other than “Taliban terrorists” & other dehumanising terms to justify slaughtering them.

    The people of Afghanistan, one of the world’s poorest countries have known nothing but conflict, trauma & misery for 40 years.

    Just a fraction of the trillions of dollars spent on killing Afghans over the last 11 years, spent instead on health, education & humanitarian projects could have had such a different effect.

  2. James says:

    Brilliant Alex, you are a gentleman.

  3. S Rackard says:

    Alex, Mahmoud, and all who were responsible for making this possible. A very big thank you!

  4. Bob Paterson says:

    Seeing the plight of those poor kids working all day for such a paltry reward brought tears to my eyes.

    God bless you Alex and everyone who has contributed to this heart-warming outcome.

  5. Hala says:

    Your reports are eye openers, Alex and you’ve kept your word to your viewers. THANK YOU.

  6. Nithiya says:

    Thank you Alex for helping to make a big difference to this family. I will never forget this piece of report.

  7. vidya says:

    God bless you Alex and all others involved in this humanitarian work.

  8. Karin says:

    Thank you Alex. You’re amazing

Comments are closed.