Terry and Patricia O'Malley and Peter Bartlett

Terry O'Malley - SAFE


 June 15 2011
Here is a photo of Terry with Dr. Sima Samar taken the afternoon of the Presentation.Terry tells us he may have  one last visit to Afghanistan later this year to evaluate the Micro Hydro project! below is a photo of Terry and Dr Samar

 June 14 2011

Here is the link to the latest activities of SAFE please click below to view

 It gives the latest encouraging progress being made by this charity Thanks to Terry O'Malley

February 8 2011

*Report 2009-2010

2009: Solar panels in Girls High School as preliminary to possibility of Computer Training Centre

Solar panels and associated equipment were successfully installed in Dehlona Girls High School in Saighan, Bamyian province of Afghanistan by July 16th 2009. The project implementers (CAWC) again strongly recommended that computer training should be provided for the school and that boys and girls and staff from both Boys and Girls High Schools should have access, in addition to a training provision for local Government staff.

2009 and 2010: Computer Training in Dehlona Girls High School:

With some funding help from a donor, SAFE (through the Central Afghanistan Welfare Committee - CAWC) was able to respond to CAWC's recommendation and initiate training for an initial group of 50 beneficiaries- boys, girls and some adult males, commencing on 1st November 2009.

Solar-Phase 2: (Computers and Training): Computers and ancillary equipment were installed and the laptops are placed behind glass screens in individual desks. The trainees use separate keyboards and ‘mice' during training & all is going very well.

It is hoped by SAFE and the project implementers that the Girls High School will become a fully sustainable and formal computer training centre.

Training, particularly for the girls, was partially interrupted during the coldest winter months by a combination of weather, reluctance by parents to give permission and a degree of opposition from the Mullahs! However, the reluctance was gradually overcome and girls continued to avail of training. Indeed they bombarded CAWC with mobile calls and written letters and requested a six-month extension to the programme so that they could fully benefit from it. The initial 6-month programme finished at the end of April 2010 but a request for a 6 month extension was generously agreed to and funded by the initial donor and commenced from 1st June 2010 and was successfully completed on 30th November 2010.

On November 10th the entire programme tools and equipment, including the complete solar installation of the centre were officially handed over to the Saighan Education administration in the presence of the Saighan district manager. After the Saighan Education Administrative head was changed in November 2010, his new authorized successor committed to run the program in the same centre for the future. The new appointed head for education department in Saighan is keen to bring some changes and improvement to the educational sector.

However, the program, besides enhancing girls and boys student skills, fundamental changes have been brought to the conservative Saighan society in terms of the presence of women and their participation in the social activities.

Fortunately, with cooperation of broad minded people, the program continued successfully for 12 months without any problem. The girls' presence in the training centre and regular attendance in the course has opened the society for further women's roles in futures.

2009:    Training for 27 women in Saighan as Traditional Birth Attendants/Community Health Workers

This 9-month programme was started on 1st April 2009 and was successfully completed by 30th December.

·         Comment from Instructor Layla.

"An extraordinary change has been brought to the illiterate women whom started from zero and had no knowledge about health and hygiene issues at all. Now they have confidence and know about both children and motherly health issues. The ability of the trained trainees in order to help pregnant women during their pregnancy and after the delivery can be considered as a vital asset to these remote villagers.

      As far as our training program has followed, the two objectives of the TBA program are related directly to the child and mother, and also public health awareness issues. According to my observation, there are a lot of changes being made within the community and households so far. For instance, four delivery cases have been handled by our trainees under my witness, all of whom were successful and had no problem facing the patients. Now our trained trainees are able to help the pregnant women and handle the delivery cases and save the lives of mothers and kids within their villages."

·         Comment from Community Representative:

"On behalf of our community, I would like to thank and appreciate a lot from SAFE and CAWC for supporting and conducting such productive training for the women" said by Mr. Shikh Sadiq. "We never had such an opportunity in our villages to see a project that the women's are involved. We all know that the women can help each other and bring a positive and fundamental change to a family. Thank God! Now our families have the opportunity to access to a (DAYA) health worker to have a safe delivery and bring health improvement to our society. One of the changes which we all witnessed is the reduction of diseases like diarrhoea among the families. Diarrhoea was a common epidemic and had a lot of fatalities among our children in the past. Fortunately, in the current year we haven't had such cases in our community. The reason for the decrease of such diseases is the result of awareness in our family about how we should use the clean drinking water and keep clean our environment."

2009 August:      Bishops' Appeal

SAFE was chosen by the Bishops' Appeal World Aid and Development programme as one of three Irish Charities to benefit from one third of their non-designated income for a project under the heading of Water of Life Project 2010, each Charity to receive a grant of one ninth of the non-designated income.

I made an illustrated presentation at Church House in September of a suitable Water Supply Scheme in Saighan, costing approximately $92,000.

2010 April:   Visitors from Afghanistan

Glencree Peace and Reconciliation Centre hosted 10 people from Afghanistan, 6 women and 4 men. Their programme encompassed visits to the North to see and hear results of the peace process and hear from former combatants, and a visit to the DFA in Dublin. Their due date of departure was disrupted by the volcanic ash. It gave the ladies an opportunity of visiting "Tara" and meeting my wife, and renewing acquaintance with me. It was a most enjoyable three hours and I am grateful to Glencree for hiring a minibus to bring them down. Noor Marjan of AWSDC (sponsored by SAFE) thoroughly enjoyed her first visit to Ireland and expressed her gratitude to SAFE for making her visit possible.

2010 May: Eco Seminar-Kilkenny College

On Saturday 15th May my wife and I travelled to Kilkenny for an Eco Seminar at the invitation of the Diocese of Cashel and Ossory, where I and three other speakers gave a talk on the subject of "The Right to Clean Water is a Global Right". In my talk I stressed that Health Education must also go hand in hand with Clean Water.

2010 May:     Dr Soraya Rahim Sobhrang: Human Rights Commissioner for Women's Rights in the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission.

I attended a breakfast ceremony on Friday 21st May in the Rotunda of Dublin City Hall at which Dr. Sobhrang was presented with the "Front Line Human Rights Defenders at Risk Award for 2010".

I brought Dr. Soraya down to Tara on Sunday 23rd, via Mount Usher Gardens, where she met my wife, two daughters, their husbands and children, and Jamie and his girl friend. We had a BBQ in the garden and I drove Dr. Sobhrang back to her Dublin hotel by 6.05pm where she was scheduled to have 2 meetings that evening. On Monday she flew to London to meet people in the Foreign Office, and then flew back to Dublin in the evening.

On Tuesday 25th she had a meeting and photo call with President McAleese. I gave her a piece of 1st quality Lapis Lazuli in a small antique embroidered bag for the President as she was only told of the appointment at the last minute by Front Line.

In the evening she flew to Brussels and on Wednesday had a meeting with Baroness Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and Vice President of the EC. On Saturday she departed Brussels for Kabul!

I think her walk around Mt. Usher and the BBQ in Tara and stroll around the garden were the only really relaxing moments of her visit to Ireland!          

Being a fully qualified Gynaecologist and Obstetrician (Kabul Medical Faculty), Dr. Soraya fully endorsed and praised SAFE's involvement in training 48 women as TBAs in the rural areas of Bamyian and Wardak provinces. She also praised the comprehensiveness of the training courses and confirmed that qualified midwives in Kabul and other major urban centres will not travel to the rural areas, and endorsed the necessity of follow-up refresher courses. This was good news for SAFE to hear.

2010 October:   Refresher Course for the 27 women trained as TBAs/CHWs in 2009.

I visited the village training centre on 23rd October 2010 and evaluated the refresher programme. All the 27 women were thrilled at having been given the opportunity for a refresher Course as a follow-up to the 2009 training. Nelab, the main Trainer, was very complimentary of the progress they had made and had been able to answer all their questions and deal with problems that had arisen since December 2009. Although all the women were illiterate by our standards they were certainly not stupid and it was wonderful to hear how happy they were at being able to help women in their own communities.

2010 October:   Saighan Water Supply Scheme:

·         (The Director of CAWC travelled to Saighan in November also, with some difficulty, in early December 2009, and re-confirmed the full commitment of the Communities, Community Development Council and the Saighan District Manager towards the Water Supply Scheme.)

SAFE was fortunately in a position to send CAWC some vital funding to get started, preparation work on the Scheme commenced on 1st February and actual work started on 1st March.

It is imperative to bear in mind that a definite commencement date for such projects is absolutely vital as work must start when the cold weather has improved and must be completed before the onset of the winter in December. As I write this Newsletter, the temperature for tomorrow night in Bamyian is forecast to be minus 26oC. As I have travelled to Afghanistan annually for many years I fully understand and appreciate the necessity of implementing such a project within a definite time-frame.

Following my visit in October/November 2010, I am happy to report that the Water Scheme has been extremely successfully implemented. Just a brief account of its achievements is as follows:

2.66 Kms of plastic piping in a trench 1 metre deep, 30 tap stations serving the entire Saighan bazaar, 207 direct households + 64 other households with access (approx. 2,000 people), two High Schools and a basic Health Clinic, and three reservoirs. The final tap station was sited in the Police Station headquarters-a stroke of genius!

The final cost came to $94,000-a sum that would expand to several million Euros if such a project was done in Ireland.

The entire water supply is ‘gravity fed' and no pump or other device has been employed. The water is filtered before entering the first reservoir, and has also been tested.

I had a meeting with the new District manager Mamur Habeb, along with the district Judge and main Mullah. Mamur Habeb, (along with nods of approval by the District Judge and Mullah) considered the project to be one of the best, if not the best, that had been implemented in the district. CAWC themselves felt it was one of the very best projects they had implemented since their foundation over 30 years before. They called it ‘miraculous'!

I consider it only right to mention in this personal report that on my return to Kabul on 26th October, the 4x4 vehicle had to have a four day long service to rectify the damage caused by the punishing roads, particularly the journey from Saighan to Chah-chah and part of the journey from Bamian to Saighan.

2010 October: Meeting with H.E. Habiba Surabi-Governor of Bamyan-25th October

I had a half hour meeting with the Governor of Bamyan, and the only female Governor in Afghanistan. She had heard of the SAFE TBA Training and Refresher Courses and how SAFE had helped the Hazara people. She was very pleased to hear of the TBA ladies and felt it would certainly benefit Bamyan, and also about the Computer Training Course as well as the almost completed wonderful Water Supply Scheme, all implemented by CAWC.

She also mentioned that on the previous day (24th Oct.) she had been to Bamian City for the ‘Concorde'-University Entrance Examinations, and noticed a number of girls who she had never noticed or even heard about before. It was an historic occasion, unique in Bamian, because most of the girls (10) had attended the SAFE Computer Training classes in Saighan. Naturally I was delighted to hear this information for it meant that the Training (viewed on 24th) had been a success and that ‘Cultural Traditions' were slowly becoming more flexible. Another small success due to SAFE!

2010 November:      Meeting with H.E. Dr. Soraya Dalil-Acting Minister of Public Health, Government of Afghanistan: Wednesday 3rd November 2010 at 6pm.

On my return to Kabul I spoke to Dr. Sima Samar, Chairperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and asked her to arrange a meeting for me with Dr. Soraya Dalil, acting Minister of Health in the Afghan Government. The meeting took place on Wednesday evening November 3rd in the Health Ministry building.

I gave her my card and reviewed what SAFE had done in Afghanistan, particularly over the past six years, and urged her to access our website for further information. I informed her of the progress made in 2008 and 2009 in training 48 women as Traditional Birth Attendants and Community Healthcare Workers in Beshud (Wardak) and in Saighan (Bamyan) and also that it appeared extremely difficult to find suitably trained midwives to go to the rural areas, where they were desperately needed. I then told her of what I had been told some time ago by an Afghan doctor that, "Kabul trained midwives prefer to be unemployed or out of a job rather than go to a rural area". The same remark sufficed for other urban areas. Dr Soraya replied that unfortunately the remark was true but she didn't offer any explanation as to how the rural areas could be dealt with!

I felt it was wrong of the MOPH to ignore and not formally recognise TBAs/CHWs in the health system and to have issued a decree, about two years ago, which inferred that training was not to be recognised by the Afghan MOPH. Such a pronouncement by the Ministry was an extremely negative step and only compounded the problems experienced by women and infants in rural areas. To this statement I received a nod, but emphatically so from her secretary.

I then said that it was disgraceful that a doctor and nurse/midwife in a rural clinic had to sleep on a mattress on a bare concrete floor and such conditions prevented any long-term commitment to rural clinics. She then told me that it was customary in Afghaniustan to sleep on the floor to which I replied (politely) that she could sleep in a warm room in her own carpeted house. Again, no reply!

I said it was a negating factor in that there were no staff quarters for such clinics or even schools, and a huge drawback to getting suitably qualified personnel to rural areas. Staff quarters were essential I felt, so that personnel could perhaps bring their children, and rural schools could have qualified staff, including essential female teachers.

She replied that she had recently visited Farah and had come across a clinic that had staff quarters. They had been build in Daoud Khan's time. I retorted that such a time was over 30 years ago!

During our conversation I noticed that her male secretary was furiously taking notes and again I mentioned our website and reasons for trying to provide assistance in Afghanistan. After half an hour I felt I had made my very valid points and thanked her for the meeting. I shall try somehow to follow up our discussion over the next months and feel that with assistance from the AIHRC Chairperson and Dr. Soraya Sobhrang-a Commissioner, I may be able to make further progress.

Ø The following, from Afghanistan on 5th December 2010 perhaps indicates that SAFE's comments have gone home.

At least we had the courage to speak up about deficiencies in their system and directly to the Minister herself - politely of course!

Community Health Workers: the future of Afghanistan's public health system

Source: Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan; World Health Organization (WHO)

5 DECEMBER 2010 | Kabul, AFGHANISTAN - Afghan health officials and the World Health Organization today observed Community Health Workers Day to acknowledge the role and contribution made by some 20,000 Community Health Workers (CHWs). This day is a local adaptation of the International Volunteers Day observed by the United Nations.

In Afghanistan's villages, CHWs are the first line health care providers before one reaches the nearest health facility. Nominated from local communities, these men and women know the people, the local culture and the issues at stake in the community, including but not limited to those pertaining to health.

"If we are to see Afghanistan's public health system stand on its own two feet, we have to develop a system that can sustain the interest and commitment of the community health workers who are, in fact, volunteers," said Her Excellency Dr Suraya Dalil, Acting Minister of Public Health. "This would mean finding a mechanism whereby they are remunerated for their time and efforts," she added.

"We really need to train more female CHWs and Community Health Supervisors and bring them into the workforce if we are to achieve the Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 targeting maternal and child health in Afghanistan," asserted Peter Graaff, WHO Representative to Afghanistan.

He continued to say that lifesaving yet basic health interventions such as birth spacing, child growth monitoring, organizing communities around health issues, including health education can be delivered through these volunteers following practical training on the WHO Regional Manual for Cluster Representatives and Health Volunteers.

CHWs are the backbone of the primary health care system in Afghanistan and are even working in parts of the country not reached by basic health services.


Before leaving Kabul for Ireland I was invited to visit a ‘Women's Garden' the Shaharaja, by Mary Akrami of AWSDC. It had been officially opened on Wednesday 3rd November. I was indeed privileged to be given permission to visit the garden by the director, Karima Salik (Hazara), a formidable and extremely capable woman, with a great sense of humour. The garden had been funded by USAID and project implemented under the aegis of Care International. I was able to see a fully equipped Computer Centre and Library, a restaurant and shops (funded by a mobile telephone service), and finally a fully equipped fitness centre!

Beds of roses, trees, green grass, special walkways and pavilions-it was wonderful to see women relaxed and happy in such a place. Karima told me she wanted to build a swimming pool and had told the Mullahs to ‘stuff' their objections. No wonder she was also called ‘Commander Karima'.

During my October/November visit to Afghanistan I availed of several opportunities to visit AWSDC and also their ‘Shelter'. Unfortunately the latter is threatened, as other Kabul Shelters are, by an irrational proposed Bill from the Ministry of Women's Affairs. Unfortunately elements within the Afghan Government have issued threats against them for some time-mainly from ‘former' warlords and the Pashtun ethnic group.

2010 Nov. and Dec.      Coffee Morning etc.

Most unfortunately, due to heavy falls of snow, my wife Patricia's Coffee Morning, Bring and Buy and Craft Sale, had to be cancelled on both occasions. She now hopes to have one in the spring.



What of the future-2011? It is time to draw breath for a while until we receive our promised balance funding from Bishops' Appeal so that we can pay off our debts and look ahead.

We have intimated to those in Kabul that we cannot, at the moment, consider projects for 2011 but nevertheless we would be pleased to receive their detailed plans and proposals for 2011, if only to look at and discuss them. Projects totally depend on funding and some projects demand that SAFE requests support from several donors.

I feel SAFE has achieved something very positive in Afghanistan and last year's visit saw the successful completion of three important projects and a bonus of three very positive meetings. Our ‘presence' has made a real difference.

Terence G.K. O'Malley

Chairman-SAFE.                                                                                       8th February 2011


The work in recent years of Terence O'Malley

Terence O'Malley has had an interesting adult life -starting by studying Natural Sciences at Dublin University and then joining tea in Assam in the 60's. There he learned the ways of the Orient as regards people at all levels, from the garden labourer, to the Sirdar, to the garden management and Office administration and Managers. He made it his task to understand their approach to life and their wishes to improve themselves. He learned Hindustani and Urdu during this time there. This knowledge of these languages has served him well in later life. He married his wife Patricia in 1968 in India. He and Patricia attended the Aberdeen reunion in 2008.

His next step in life was to become a headmaster for twenty years at a Dublin Preparatory School (it happened to be the oldest in Ireland, of which he is proud).

Terry then became involved with a charitable organization SAFE --
 Support for Afghan Further Education-Ir. Reg. Charity No. 10477

The Charity SAFE is working on several fronts especially focusing on schools, health care facilities, clean water, and solar energy to generate electricity in remote areas.

In this capacity Terry has visited Pakistan each year since the early 1990's and has travelled extensively within Afghanistan generally for a period of two months to personally ensure that all funding is wisely and accountably spent

Terry acknowledged that it was tiring, particularly at his age, to travel such long distances in Afghanistan to Mirazar and Saighan but the trips are valuable to witness and understand, yet again, the stresses on the ‘native' personnel.

 Also the wear and tear on vehicles is immense, the cost of which must be borne by the particular agency, a necessary outlay which, in many cases, is far from small even bearing in mind cost differentials between the West or Developed countries and Afghanistan. A driver is a man of many parts and often capable of keeping a vehicle running when a total breakdown appears likely.

The punishment on the arms and shoulders of a driver can almost be described as slow torture-particularly after many hours at the wheel fighting the often appalling ‘road' conditions Terry states: "It is therefore with a feeling of gratitude that I was taken so far and managed to experience, as I have done many times before, the stresses and strains the Afghan personnel experience, and most often quite unappreciated by donors".

Many staff work in far flung areas and telephone (cell) contact, though made a lot easier due to the spread of mobile networks and masts, is necessary perhaps in emergencies etc. but no substitute for personal evaluation.

The good things that have been achieved:

Mirazar Clinic and School, and the visit to Saighan. Found that the Traditional Birth Attendants (TBA) programme is going very well and Terry is confident that the solar project and computer training will be a success.

Phase 2,  It is intended that the Girls high school become a computer training centre for boys and girls, their teachers, administrative staff, and others. The project will finish on 30th November 2010.

    The picture on the left is of Terry in Mohammaday Primary School  at 6 250ft-(very basic and outside a Mosque!) was taken in 2007 and is in Kala Dhaka, the provincially administered Tribal area (PATA) of Mansehra district in the northern area of Pakistan, in the Province of the now named Khyberpakhtunkhwa (formerly known as the NWFP). The children are of the Pariari Syyad tribe or clan.
The picture on the righte  in turban was taken in Afghanistan in 2004.                  

Terry also saw that no project-even one from several years ago, is neglected and Central Afghanistan Welfare Committee (CAWC) keeps in regular touch with the communities. This is good and praiseworthy, but something often, in his experience, sadly lacking in other agencies-both National and International.

Such evaluations cannot be done week in and week out-time, distance and ‘road' conditions prevent that. But when evaluations are carried out they are critically thorough and CAWC has an enviable reputation in ensuring a job is well done-whether construction of a bridge, a dam, a school, a Clinic or Training TBAs
Sadly westerners or expatriates rarely make such journeys, often being desk bound in Kabul and attending endless meetings-a favourite and much used excuse,.

The not so good bits:

Terry is very disappointed regarding the Middle School in Kala Dhaka, and the turbulent events in certain areas of Pakistan. He can but leave it to the Organisation for Development Coordination (ODC) to complete the Project as and when they are able. They are the ones on the spot and know the difficulties and dangers. Terry has of course left full details of the school with four very capable people in Peshawar. There is nothing more he can do.
Here are some items of interest from Terry's report to his Board of Trustees

In May 2009 he travelled to the Kajab Valley in Beshud 2 district of Wardak to check on the Health Clinic and Solar electrification, Mirazar High School, and the 21 women trained as TBAs and Community Health Workers.

He then travelled to Bamian city and onwards to Saighan district of Bamian province to check on 27 women being trained as Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) and Community Health Workers (CHWs).



Saighan centre he checked on Dehlona Girls High School, had meetings with the community elders and the District Manager, and sanctioned the solar electrification of the School, and necessary internal and external painting and general repairs. No maintenance had been carried out by the Afghan Government since construction of the school 12 years previously!

For Phase II, It is intended that the Girls High School become a Computer training Centre for girls and boys of Grades 9-12, from both Girls and Boys High School Schools, their administration staff and teachers, Gov. Admin staff, local NGOs and private companies. When the training is completed on 30th November the centre will be self sustainable.

Returning to Kabul he visited the Shelter operated by AWSDC for women who have been raped or abused or escaping from a forced marriage, as well as several young children who have witnessed extreme violence.

      Unfortunately due to the ongoing conflict in the Northern areas of Pakistan he could not visit Kala Dhaka to open a Middle School, as the area was sealed off by the military and the Kala Dhaka administration.

However, he was able to meet with several of the sisters educated by SAFE to post graduate level in Peshawar. These five young Afghan refugee ladies now have Masters Degrees!

Terry has had some challenging and interesting times. He is the very first ever foreigner and non-Afghan to visit the DaiZangi area (Waras) of Afghanistan in the Hazarajat, spending five days on horseback in a mountainous area where there were no roads, no medical facilities and no schools, and often riding to 11,000ft.

He re-visited the area in November 2005, again on horseback, and organised and addressed a gathering of over seventy women of the area-something never before accomplished in their history, in order to hear their own voices and evaluate their needs with regard to a Women's Development Centre/Health Clinic.   

2006: Again visited Afghanistan: Daikundi, Kabul and Wardak provinces, this time with his son Jamie, and evaluated a Solar project for electric light in a remote village, (the first of its kind in Afghanistan), a Health Care Clinic, as well as revisiting Tehkhanagak, once again on horseback!       .

In early June '06 they travelled to Kala Dhaka F.R. (The Black Mountain), in N. Pakistan, and were the first westerners given permission to spend the night there since 1891. They evaluated a SAFE Primary School project in the earthquake-affected area, involving re-commencement of education in three Primary Schools.

In August ‘07 he re-visited Mirazar in Afghanistan and Kala Dhaka in FR Pakistan. In the latter he accessed two villages, never before visited by a foreigner, by climbing to over 6,000ft, to evaluate the re-commencement of Primary education, and also re-visited Balakot and Muzzafarabad to assess progress on how international aid had been utilised.

Terry is working very hard and we commend him for his efforts with SAFE
The Editor encourages those who read and appreciate Terry's hard work with SAFE  to donate to the Charity

the address is   "Tara" Ballyfad, Gorey, Co Wexford: +353 (0)402 37018

Terry's E-mail is kabul@indigo.ie
and the SAFE website www.safeafghanistan.ie