Everything You Need to Know about the Bayat Foundation

The Bayat Foundation supports people in need throughout Afghanistan, providing clothing, food, medical care, and much more. The Bayat Foundation was established in 2006. Its ultimate mission is to foster a healthy, hopeful population, providing Afghans with the inspiration and opportunities they need to succeed and prosper.

It was founded with the objective of rebuilding Afghan communities and supporting the neediest and most at-risk. The Bayat Foundation supports Afghans in a variety of ways, providing food and clothing; maternity care; postnatal support for women and babies; educational support; orphan care; and youth sports programs.

In this article, we look at the history of the Bayat Foundation and the vital work the organization carries out across Afghanistan.

The Bayat Foundation supports families in need.

Since 2008, the Bayat Foundation runs two programs dedicated to supporting Afghan families in need: Winter Aid and Family Sponsorship.

During the coldest months of the year, warm clothing, food, and thousands of blankets are distributed to families in remote provinces of Afghanistan through the Bayat Foundation’s Winter Aid program.

Through the Family Sponsorship initiative, donors pledge $50 per month to provide the necessities to a family in need. Rather than spending their days on the streets in search of food, Afghan children are able to attend school because of the Family Sponsorship program.

afghanistan children

The Bayat Foundation provides postnatal care for mothers and babies.

Over the past few years, the Bayat Foundation has overseen construction of healthcare facilities in eight separate Afghan provinces. Previously, no formal care options existed in those areas for pregnant women and new mothers.

The new facilities incorporate maternity clinics comprising up to 150 beds. These clinics are capable of serving hundreds of thousands of Afghan women each year, free of charge. As a result of the Bayat Foundation’s efforts, the mortality rate for Afghan women and newborns has decreased.

The Bayat Foundation provides educational support and orphan care.

The Bayat Foundation has overseen remodeling and refurbishment of classrooms and dormitories across the country as well as providing much-needed school supplies. The organization has also constructed several new schools, libraries, and orphanages. It also built a sports stadium. These efforts provide a safe environment for Afghan children to learn in, helping increase literacy throughout the country by educating one child at a time.

During August 2019, the Bayat Foundation’s School and Student Assistance Program built new school facilities in Kabul. It also provided school equipment, incorporating 5,000 types of school supplies, including pencils, notebooks, shoes, backpacks, and prepackaged nutritious meals.

The Bayat Foundation also educates civilians across Afghanistan through public service announcements on a variety of different topics. These include food hygiene, personal hygiene, human rights issues, and respect for elders and youths.

The Bayat Foundation launched the American University of Afghanistan Scholars Program.

The Bayat Foundation is Afghanistan’s biggest private non-profit education, health, and social development organization. The Foundation demonstrated its enduring commitment to increasing opportunities for the youth of Afghanistan by launching its Scholars Program at the American University of Afghanistan in April 2019. Its mission is to promote a new generation of exceptional, highly-skilled IT professionals to lead technical innovation and entrepreneurship throughout Afghanistan in years to come.

afghan children

Every year, 15 scholarships will be awarded under the Bayat Scholars Program to qualified candidates who successfully complete the application process. The program will enable prospective undergraduates to study at the American University of Afghanistan and obtain a bachelor’s degree in either computer science or information communication technology.

To qualify for the program, candidates must be Afghan citizens with a high school diploma. They should be proficient speakers of English and possess a strong academic record. Qualifying students must commit to utilizing their education for the betterment of Afghanistan.

The Bayat Foundation provides disaster response, emergency relief, fresh water, and nutritious food.

The Bayat Foundation has provided emergency aid to flooding and avalanche victims, delivering medical aid, food, clothing, and other vital support in the aftermath of regional disasters. Additionally, thanks to the organization’s deep well-digging initiatives, more people throughout Afghanistan enjoy access to clean, safe drinking water today.

Each year, The Bayat Foundation Food Assistance Program initiative provides hundreds of thousands of nutritious meals to families throughout Afghanistan. Every Bayat Foundation meal kit provides pre-packaged, easy-to-prepare meals that are shelf stable and fortified with vitamins, proteins, and other key nutrients.

The Bayat Foundation partners with local schools to ensure its programs reach as many families as possible. To date, more than 172,800 pre-packaged meals have been distributed to families and children throughout Kabul and the surrounding regions.

The Bayat Foundation sponsors sporting events.

The Foundation sponsors a variety of different sporting events, including bicycle races, distance running, and walk-a-thons. Its aim is to inspire young people throughout Afghanistan to take part in competitive sports and team-building exercises.

Spotlight on a Busy Fall at the Bayat Foundation

2019 is drawing to a close, but that doesn’t mean that things at the Bayat Foundation are slowing down. On the contrary, Afghanistan’s largest private philanthropic organization has been busier than ever during the fall months, working tirelessly to achieve its mission of bringing hope and support to Afghans in need.

The Bayat Foundation’s most recent projects and activities include:

Support for Kabul area schools.

Toward the end of the summer, the Bayat Foundation completed its 2019 School and Student Assistance Program. This initiative saw the Foundation sponsoring a range of facility improvements at several secondary and high schools in Kabul. A new well was constructed at Rabia Balkhi School, the gymnasium and volleyball facilities were repaired at Wahdat Girls High School, and Omulbanin High School received a brand-new athletic field.

In addition to these upgrades, the program also distributed thousands of key school supplies to local students, including notebooks and pencils, backpacks, shoes, and nutritious prepared meals. Describing the program, Bayat Foundation co-founders Dr. Ehsan Bayat and Mrs. Fatema Laya Bayat emphasized the critical importance of education to Afghanistan’s future, and expressed the hope that the improvements and supplies provided by the program would help students flourish at school and fulfill their potential.

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The second annual Bright Future Business Accelerator program.

In September, the Bayat Foundation launched the second round of its highly successful Bright Future Business Accelerator program. Originally established in late 2018, the program is an initiative of Bright Future Afghanistan, a consortium of four leading Afghan non-profit organizations, including the Bayat Foundation.

The broad goal of the program is to support Afghanistan’s economic development by helping to build and sustain a robust network of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which are exactly the type of companies the country needs to create employment opportunities and allow Afghanistan and its people to prosper. Twenty-five Afghan SMEs have been selected to participate in the second Bright Future Business Accelerator. Through the program, these companies and their leaders will receive training and mentorship support in a number of key business development areas, including business plan development, marketing and sales, and production and logistics.

The 2019 Hearing Care Mission.

Every year since 2014, the Bayat Foundation has partnered with the Starkey Hearing Foundation to host the Bayat-Starkey Afghanistan Hearing Care Mission. One of the most important health care programs in Afghanistan to specifically target deafness and hearing impairments, the Hearing Care Mission works to bring the gift of hearing to thousands of vulnerable Afghans.

According to estimates from the Afghanistan National Association of the Deaf, as many as 34,000 Afghan children between the ages of seven and 18 are living with deafness, blindness, or both. Unfortunately, many of these children are unable to access help or care for their hearing impairments, due in no small part to the considerable stigma that still surrounds deafness in Afghan society. The Hearing Care Mission therefore offers a rare and important opportunity for both children and adults with hearing issues to receive treatment from medical experts. At this year’s Mission, over 1,400 Afghans received hearing screenings from professional audiologists and hearing care specialists, information on care and treatment, and hearing aids, all completely free of charge.

school children

As always, the Bayat Foundation is proud to deliver this important annual mission in partnership with the Starkey Hearing Foundation. The philanthropic arm of leading hearing aid manufacturer Starkey Hearing Technologies, the Starkey Hearing Foundation works in more than 100 countries around the world to bring the gift of hearing to those who need it most. Through its collaborations with governments, health leaders, and non-profit organizations, the Starkey Hearing Foundation has touched the lives of more than 1 million people living with deafness or hearing impairments.

Afghanistan’s first ever anti-slavery conference.

In November 2019, the Bayat Foundation celebrated a milestone achievement: hosting a groundbreaking conference on the elimination of modern slavery, human trafficking, and labor exploitation within Afghanistan and beyond. This was the first conference on this topic in Afghanistan. Titled “Ending Slavery, Extending Hope,” the conference shed important light on and helped build critical awareness about the often-taboo subjects of slavery and exploitation, which are a troubling reality for far too many vulnerable Afghans.

Held at the Bayat Media Center in Kabul, the conference was organized into two panel discussions led by local and international leaders from both the public and private sectors. The first discussion focused on recommendations from the Bali Process, an international forum for policy dialogue, information sharing, and practical cooperation around the issues of people smuggling and human trafficking. The Bayat Foundation is Afghanistan’s official representative to the Bali Process. The second discussion examined the efforts that Afghan businesses, government, and non-profit organizations are currently making to tackle and eliminate slavery and exploitation. This panel also discussed other solutions and strategies that could help protect vulnerable communities and populations.

Spotlight on the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat

Aga Khan Agency

Through its various branches and agencies, the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) is responsible for a wide range of development projects and initiatives in Afghanistan, from the restoration of culturally significant public spaces to the creation of improved health care facilities and resources. Today, we take a look at one of the AKDN’s agencies, the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH), which is responsible for helping Afghanistan and its people to cope with one of the most devastating challenges that they face: natural disasters.

How Afghanistan Is Affected by Natural Disasters

Due to its geographic location, years of environmental degradation, and a number of other factors, Afghanistan is highly susceptible to severe and recurring natural hazards and disasters. Given that Afghanistan is located in a high seismic activity zone, earthquakes are frequent, particularly in the northern and northwestern parts of the country. Since 2000, about nine major earthquakes have occurred. Earthquakes of all sizes often trigger landslides, which can have a destructive impact. In the spring, melting snow and heavy rains commonly cause flooding all over the country, and the effect of these floods can be particularly severe when they are preceded by periods of drought.

The devastation caused by these high rates of natural disasters place a huge burden on Afghan citizens, who struggle to stay resilient in the face of such emergencies due to factors such as severe poverty and poor infrastructure. According to data from the World Bank, natural hazards and disasters in Afghanistan have affected 9 million people and caused more than 20,000 fatalities since 1980, and those figures are only expected to rise given the increasing threat of climate change and its anticipated impact on natural disasters.

An Overview of the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat

AKAH, which was previously known as Focus Humanitarian Assistance, is one of the most important entities dedicated to resilience in the face of natural disasters in Afghanistan. AKAH engages with Afghan communities, primarily those in remote mountainous areas and rural regions, to build and support their capacity to cope with natural disasters and other complex emergencies.

AKAH’s broad approach focuses on predicting where and how natural disasters and emergencies could impact homes, communities, and livelihoods; identifying the structural and non-structural interventions that could help prevent or mitigate these disasters; and supporting communities and local and national governments to reduce their vulnerability to risk.

Focus Areas of the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat

In order to help Afghans better prepare for and cope with the effects of natural disasters and emergencies, AKAH operates a range of programs and initiatives across several different focus areas. They include the following:

Disaster Risk Reduction – For over a decade, AKAH has operated a disaster risk reduction (DRR) and emergency preparedness program in Afghanistan’s mountainous communities. The program’s model consists of community-based DRR activities; safety initiatives for public facilities such as schools and hospitals; capacity building efforts for local governments; and national advocacy for wide-ranging DRR policies and programs. One of the most important elements of the program is the communities that play a hands-on role in their own protection and preparedness. For example, community members conduct a Hazard Vulnerability Risk Assessment to identify evacuation routes and safe refuges, as well as to establish their own community-based emergency response teams.

Capacity Building – Providing support to communities in creating and maintaining community-based emergency response teams (CERTs) is one of AKAH’s most important capacity-building initiatives. Through this program, AKAH helps to ensure that CERTs are established in the communities that need them most and that these teams are properly equipped and trained. For example, CERTs receive AKAH-supported training in areas such as first aid, search and rescue, health and hygiene, communication and coordination, and early warning systems.

Community-Based Interventions – AKAH works directly in areas that are most likely to be affected by natural disasters in order to help these high-risk communities mitigate hazards and respond effectively when necessary. Some of the particular interventions that AKAH has carried out over the years include: the creation of village disaster management plans for over 400 villages; more than 100 small-scale structural risk mitigation projects, which includes clearing flow channels of debris and terracing against avalanches; the development of school disaster management committees in schools, as well as school seismic retrofitting projects in five schools; and the development of three community-based flood early warning systems in riverside areas.

External Partnerships – In order for a response to natural disasters to be most effective, it’s important to have strong communication and coordination among the various entities involved in relief efforts. AKAH helps to achieve this by building strong external partnerships with other programs, agencies, and government ministries, as well as by taking a central role in disaster management coordination. AKAH is one of the primary response institutions in Afghanistan’s Provincial Disaster Management Committee; an active member of Afghanistan’s Disaster Risk Reduction platform; a co-chair of the Disaster Risk Reduction Clusters for Food Security and Agriculture; and a partner of many other institutions, including Afghanaid, Save the Children, the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center, and a variety of United Nations agencies.