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BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Sgt. Shawn Fouste, Decatur, Ill., noncommissioned officer in charge of the Freedom Restoration Center with the 455th Expeditionary Wing, Task Force Med, plays with (click for more)

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KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Kunar Provincial Gov. Fazlullah Wahidi shakes hands with Kunar Construction Center graduates prior to the graduation ceremony in the Shigal District of eastern Afghanistan’s Kunar Province Oct. 9. The KCC graduated 116 students in trades such as masonry, painting, plumbing, electrical work and carpentry. (Photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Nathan Lipscomb, Kunar Provincial Reconstruction Team)KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – The Kunar Construction Center, in the Shigal District in eastern Afghanistan’s Kunar Province, graduated 116 young men Oct. 9 under their unofficial slogan of “We will rebuild our country.”

Established as a joint effort by the Kunar Provincial Reconstruction Team and U.S. Agency of International Development in March 2008, the KCC provides training in masonry, painting, plumbing, carpentry and electrical work to young men from the Kunar, Nuristan, Laghman and Nangahar provinces.

“You will be the heroes who build mosques, schools, roads; the kind of heroes who provide for their families, who honor their fathers with hard work and the sweat of an honest man,” said Paul Negley, the Kunar PRT USAID representative from Winchester, Va., while addressing the young men at their graduation ceremony. “You will inspire your children, and your children’s children, and Afghanistan will be a better place because of you.”

Prior to the KCC’s creation, many of the basic construction jobs in Kunar were being filled by laborers from outside the country. The purpose of KCC was to transition skilled trades to Afghan jobs. According to USAID, recent surveys showed 80 percent of KCC graduates are hired post-graduation, in the eastern Afghanistan region.

Attending the KCC’s eighth graduation was Kunar Provincial Gov. Fazlullah Wahidi, the Kunar PRT and Agribusiness Development Team commanders, leadership from Task Force Bastogne, several members of USAID and local leaders from throughout Kunar and neighboring provinces.

While addressing the graduates, Gov. Wahidi urged them to take control of security in the Kunar Province saying, “The insurgents are not Muslim. They are not from Afghanistan.”

He then praised them for completing the class and being part of the community who will implement change for the people of Afghanistan.


“In the past, the people of Afghanistan have had many hardships: families torn apart, brothers killed brothers, sisters became widows, mothers lost sons, and children became hopeless,” Negley said in a passionate address to the graduates. “Generations of youth were lost to war, never having the opportunities like the students here today.

“Today, we do not celebrate the heroes of these wars, our heroes, or the heroes of the mountains, which is why I speak here with pride and optimism.  You are the real sons of Afghanistan … tomorrow’s heroes; the heroes of peace.”

The facility itself has also undergone change, including the addition of two new mail halls, two dormitory areas, six washrooms and administrative offices. The KCC is also considering adding auto mechanics to its list of trades taught.

As the center itself continues to grow, so will the contributions of the young Afghan men trained within its walls. The KCC will begin with a new class of 100 students in November.KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan - A graduate from the Kunar Construction Center takes a photo during the graduation ceremony in the Shigal District of eastern Afghanistan’s Kunar Province Oct. 9. The KCC graduated 116 students in trades such as masonry, painting, plumbing, electrical work and carpentry. (Photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Nathan Lipscomb, Kunar Provincial Reconstruction Team)KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Paul Negley, Kunar Provincial Reconstruction Team’s U.S. Agency for International Development representative, speaks to the Kunar Construction Center graduates during the ceremony in the Shigal District of eastern Afghanistan’s Kunar Province Oct. 9. The KCC is one of USAID’s projects in the province designed to give young Afghan men the skills needed to find a productive job rebuilding the country. (Photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Nathan Lipscomb, Kunar Provincial Reconstruction Team)KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan - One of the top graduates from the Kunar Construction Center holds up his diploma during a graduation ceremony in the Shigal District of eastern Afghanistan’s Kunar Province Oct. 9. The KCC graduated 116 students in trades such as masonry, painting, plumbing, electrical work and carpentry. (Photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Nathan Lipscomb, Kunar Provincial Reconstruction Team)

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 October 2010 01:42
 

    

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