Making pen pals in Afghanistan


MEMBERS OF the British Army have started handing out some of the thousands of pens that were gathered through the appeal launched by the “Brechin Advertiser” last year.

There was a moment of immense pride for Captain Lisa Irwin, as she and her colleagues started distributing the Biros and felt tipped pens to children in the war-stricken country.

Lisa said that the sheer delight and surprise displayed by the children was worth all the effort.

She explained: “I distributed some of the pens in a village last week.

“I had to do it in the middle of the bazaar as the school was closed when we managed to get there and it was slightly chaotic as I was literally mobbed.

“I had to resort to throwing the pens at the kids as there was that much of a scramble for them.

“I did not distribute them all. The remaining ones will be handed in to the school principal later.

“To all the kind hearted people of Brechin who so generously donated pens to the appeal I, and all the soldiers I have been serving with, would like to say a heartfelt thank you.

“I have been amazed at the response and your generosity has put a smile on the faces of hundreds of Afghan children I have met on my travels throughout Southern Nad Ali.

“Being able to distribute pens whilst out on patrol has also had a positive influence on the relationship between Afghans and ISAF soldiers and adds to the feeling of goodwill that we now generally experience.

“To us, a pen is a trivial item, but to many Afghans I have met it is something to be desired and treasured, and to those children lucky enough to be able to go to school it is an extremely useful item of great value.

“My tour has been an incredibly memorable one and I will never forget the poverty and hardship I have seen, but nor will I forget the stoicism and fortitude of Afghans trying to get on with their simple lives often in the face of great adversity.

“Thank you all once again from the bottom of my heart.”

We had more good news for Lisa, with a second huge consignment of pens and children’s games set to be sent off for further distribution amongst the kids of Afghanistan.

“You cannot begin to understand how much happier this makes these kids,” she continued.

“The simplest of things to me and you can make these kids’ lives so much happier and easier and also, we feel, will also contribute to making their futures better.

“The response from the “Brechiner” appeal has been phenomenal and we could not have asked for a greater contribution from people back home.

“It makes me very proud to be able to tell these kids over here who have nothing that, like the people helping them, I am a Brechiner.

“It makes me very proud to be a Brechiner and very grateful to each and every person who has played a significant role in making this work.

“The positive effect for the kids has been tremendous, but the knock-on effect for my colleagues in the armed forces has also been hugely significant.”

PICTURED TOP RIGHT: Members of the British Army distribute pens which have come all the way from Brechin to kids in Nad Ali.