Afghan Hope Project - Our Story
Since 1994, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) has provided comfort and hope 24/7 through a national peer support network and connection to grief resources, all at no cost to surviving families and loved ones. TAPS is a national nonprofit 501(c)3 Veterans Service Organization and is not part of, or endorsed by, the Department of Defense. Because grief is universal, the mission of TAPS International is to bring hope and healing to all those grieving the death of a military loved one, world-wide.
Over the years, TAPS has assisted more than 100,000 surviving families nationwide.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world and four decades of conflict and terrorism, Afghanistan continues to set record-breaking casualties. The actions and narratives of violent extremist groups threaten the innocent population of Afghanistan, especially women and children. In a society where the future of a woman depends on her husband, these widows are almost always left powerless and penniless after the loss of their husband. In afghan society, the loss of a husband—usually the only source of income for the family—means a total loss of security and stability.
In the summer of 2012, after one of the highest casualty years for military tragedy, TAPS staff traveled to Afghanistan to see first-hand some of the devastation. In July 2015, TAPS was introduced to an Afghan businessman who was looking for a partner to create a program similar to TAPS in Afghanistan. He was exactly the right partner to help TAPS connect with widows in the Kabul area. TAPS staff traveled to Kabul, Afghanistan, in January 2016 to launch the Afghan program, “Karguzaar,” which means “Creating Jobs” in English, for the sole purpose of bringing employment and stability to the widows of the Afghan National Security and Defense Forces.
Even in the early stages of the bracelet program in Afghanistan, the women made the bracelets by hand in Kabul and sent them to the TAPS Headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. The widows accomplished this despite security issues and the instability facing the region gives testimony to the strength and hope of the determined widows we serve.
After a few design revisions, the bracelet evolved into a jewelry brand called TAPS for Hope which are now sold online for all to support our cause and honor our heroes.
Since the Taliban took Kabul in August, the army widows have been unable to obtain the supplies needed to produce more bracelets but by selling our current inventory, TAPS is able to provide them each a stipend to see them through the winter. We are continuing to work with contacts in the region in an effort to provide the widows with ongoing opportunities.