Nightly News   |  October 30, 2009

From the Archives: A home for Afghanistan’s war orphans

Oct. 30 2009: Andeisha Farid is making a difference in a dangerous place, providing a safe haven in Afghanistan. NBC’s Brian Williams reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> (sssssssss!!!)

>>> and with thanks to ann curry in new york, we're back here in kabul tonight. it's also the backdrop for this evening's friday night "making a difference" report. as we all know, americans are generous people. so many folks back home give money for schools and orphanages over here. many of them through their houses of worship. tonight we want to show you where some of that money goes, the children it helps, and one woman here making a huge difference in a dangerous place.

>> oh, you want me to put on your glasses and you're going to put on my glasses. how do we look?

>> reporter: a perfectly ordinary moment involving a little girl with glasses who is anything but perfectly ordinary. she lives in this orphanage in kabul. 67 girls and a handful of boys, and every child here came from tragedy. otherwise, they wouldn't be here. most of them have lost parents to war, 30 years of it. attacks by the taliban. even u.s. bombing after 9/11. but there's never been a happier place that rose out of so much tragedy.

>> they come from different backgrounds. mostly, of course, very sad backgrounds.

>> reporter: andisha fareed is the guiding force behind this bright and happy place and these happy faces . she's an afghan. she grew up a refugee, displaced and scrounging. and she has vowed to make life better for these kids.

>> this is your life's work?

>> sure. especially for our generation. we born in war, we grown up in war, and we may die in war. but we really -- i really want to do something. if we say okay, we have gone through very tough situation and we fed up, just we give -- we shouldn't give up.

>> reporter: today we also met farzana, who has grown to love living here, and it shows. i asked about her parents, and she said her mother was sick, and with the first appearance of a tear our chat had to come to an end.

>> so this is your home now?

>> yes. yeah.

>> okay.

>> it's my home.

>> reporter: fridays are holidays in afghanistan. that means a big meal and everybody pitches in, as they do with keeping the place clean and orderly. * it's the most wonderful time * the kids don't realize the irony in the title of today's english-language movie, " home alone ." many of them came here alone, but they're home now. every child here goes to school. but it's in a tough neighborhood in a changing country, and andisha constantly worries about their security, kidnapping and attacks.

>> when i see all these girls or the boys or the small children, when i see their happy faces , i see a future in them, a bright future . and i'm sure i'm doing a difference for afghan people .

>> there we go.

>> reporter: life is so good in this happy little enclave, and the children seem to be doing so well that while it may sound like a line from one of the movies they watch, it's true that the toughest part is saying good-bye. all of the children at that orphanage have financial sponsors, at least for right now. but the director tells us the global financial crisis is hurting their sponsorship. we told her we have generous viewers. so if you'd like to help, you can go to our website, that's nightly.msnbc.com, and find out exactly how. we'll be back