EXCLUSIVE: Roots of Peace nonprofit desperately trying to get employees out of Afghanistan

ByTara Campbell KGO logo
Monday, February 14, 2022
EXCLUSIVE: Roots of Peace trying to get employees out of Afghanistan
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Nearly six months since the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, a Bay Area nonprofit is still desperately trying to get its employees out of the country safely.

AFGHANISTAN (KGO) -- Nearly six months since the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan a Bay Area non-profit is still desperately trying to get its employees out of the country safely.

"It breaks my heart because I have fought a battle for the last six months," Heidi Kuhn, Founder & CEO, Roots of Peace. Kuhn's been advocating on behalf of dozens of employees who narrowly missed escape from the Kabul airport, who are now a Taliban target and the women are the most vulnerable. "These women continue to work for Roots for Peace and are helping thousands of farmers cultivate peace through agriculture."

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Roots of Peace employs 300 Afghans, helping to transform the country's farming by replacing landmines with fruit trees and building businesses. Women like Bashra are leading the way. We've changed her name to protect her identity.

"They don't accept you as a woman. They don't accept as human even," she said, describing life in hiding, unable to got to work or even listen to music."

Music is something that everyone likes. We can't hear it. We're scared we can't work, we can't go outside. We can't enjoy our lives. But she is still holding onto hope, a lot of it in Kuhn.

EXCLUSIVE: San Rafael nonprofit pleads for help evacuating 360 Afghan employees in Kabul

"I'm sure is knocking each door to accompany us to help us get out this country and make a safe place for us," said Bashra.

Kuhn describes it as frustrating, "I'm trying so hard. I was in Washington, DC last week, I've written a letter to the President of the United States, I visited the State Department." And she's quick to point out that bringing these women to the US, doesn't only help keep them safe, it will also benefit the Bay Area. "These women are businesswomen. They're mentored by the funding we've so generously received from the United States government," said Kuhn, noting their efforts to help build a peaceful Afghanistan need to be recognized.

"These Afghan women who work for me and have worked for me for dozens of years some of the young women who are educated and deserve the right to be evacuated," said Kuhn, who has no intention of giving up. "It would be much easier to stay in my beautiful backyard in Marin California, but then I hear their voices and, I hear their courage, and how dare I do not step up."

Here's how you can help donate to Roots of Peace.