A Hebridean charity supporting women and children in Afghanistan has passed the £2 million fundraising milestone during its tenth anniversary.
The Linda Norgrove Foundation was set up in memory of the aid worker from Lewis who died in October 2010 in a failed rescue attempt following her kidnapping in the war-torn country.
The foundation, established by her parents, John and Lorna, has funded more than 175 grass-roots projects in ten years, including school and university scholarships, mobile libraries and clean water and sanitation.
It was feared that the pandemic would hit the foundation’s fundraising, but significant donations from a number of charities and trusts have helped boost the funds.
Mr and Mrs Norgrove said: “This has been a difficult year for us all, and many charities have found it challenging. So we have been really heartened by the response of many loyal supporters who found incredibly creative ways to raise funds, despite the lockdowns and social distancing rules.
“More good fortune came in the form of a number of substantial awards from various trusts and foundations, as well as a transfer of funds following the wind up of another Afghan charity.”
The annual Uig 10k run was replaced with a socially distanced variation which has already raised more than £14,000, with contributions still coming in. Participants were asked to run, walk or cycle during the first ten days of the tenth month of the tenth anniversary.
One of the Norgrove’s friends also organised an open water swim challenge which attracted 83 entrants from across the world, from London to British Columbia and has so far raised £1,285.
US charity Development Aid International raised more than £5,000 from a series of virtual events to mark the 10th anniversary of the death of their colleague, Ms Norgrove.
Income so far for 2020 is more than £200,000, the highest annual sum raised since the year immediately following Ms Norgrove’s death.
And it all helps bring the Afghanistan-centric charity’s total past £2 million.
All money raised from fundraising events in the 10th anniversary will pay for medical scholarships for women studying in Afghanistan. The foundation now supports 63 medical students, a figure which will increase to 85 by the spring.
It also supports 27 midwives, 10 nurses and 52 women studying for other degrees such as law and computer science. A milestone was reached earlier this year when the first sponsored student qualified as a doctor.
Mr and Mrs Norgrove added: “We feel it’s important to train female doctors, as well as midwives and nurses, to provide adequate medical support to women in Afghanistan. These trained professionals will in turn act as role models for other young women.”
Other projects to receive support in recent years have been an orphanage for children with disabilities and transformational medical operations for women who have suffered trauma, often at the hands of their families. The foundation has also helped fund a minibus for the Pink Shuttle women’s transport project in Kabul.
An award of £7,650 funded a midwifery clinic and £9,586 created a transport system in the remote Kaldar province taking women in labour to a health centre or hospital.
In addition, the foundation has printed and distributed 5,000 copies of a book of traditional children’s stories, provided funds for a small school in a poor district of Kabul, mounted a Covid-19 campaign and gave groceries and antiseptics to disadvantages families and helped a children’s circus produce and distribute face masks and set up handwashing stations in refugee camps during the pandemic.
Earlier this year Mr and Mrs Norgrove spoke about their pride in the success of the foundation in the last decade.