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Local peace group works with international activist

For more than 30 years, war has torn the country of Afghanistan apart, bringing devastation and misery to the third world nation and rendering millions of children fatherless and their mothers widowed. Nearly six million childrenmostly girlsdon't go to school in Afghanistan and those that do, do their learning on carpets in the heat of the sun, as school buildings are rare. For every four or five villages there is often only one medical clinic for 40,000 to 50,000 people, far below the international standard and even the third-world standard. Domestic abuse and rape is rampant, with some men cutting their wives' ears and noses to the point of mutilation. For those women that have become widowed and are devoid of any formal education or skills with which to provide for their family, many feel hopeless and without a future so they drench themselves in hot cooking oil.

This pain and violence that is a part of everyday life in Afghanistan is why Fahima Vorgetts has devoted her life to making a change in the country she fled when the Soviets invaded in 1979. Director of the Afghan Women's Fund, Vorgetts tours the country speaking about Afghanistan, the women there and what havoc the war has wreaked.

"Some say it's [Afghanistan] a postwar country but it's not, it's a war torn country"there's over 100,000 military, the Taliban, al-Qaeda, fundamentalists, drug and war lords, foreign soldiers all fighting among themselves everywhere," said Vorgetts. "Women and children are the biggest victims of this war. When I go there I see the pain and suffering, the good and the bad. I see the devastation and misery that the war has brought to this country."

Vorgetts said since many women haven't had the opportunity to be educated or learn skills they turn to other options to put food on the table, from selling all their belongings and the clothes off their backs, to hard physical labor and prostitution.

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