Operation New Start Helps Transform Lives

Phyllis Young shared this poignant letter from mentor Connie Cowan of Naperville. 



Assistance League of Chicago land West 
119 E. Ogden Avenue 
Hinsdale, IL 60521 

Dear Friends, 

Upon a referral from Janet Gaza of Bridge Communities, you recently donated a complete 
kitchen set to a young woman that I am mentoring and I wanted to tell you personally how 
grateful we are for your donation to her. Farah and her husband Qand and their baby recently 
moved out of her mother's home and this donation has significantly helped them get a start on 
their own. 

Farah and Qand are from Afghanistan. Farah came here as a teenager, attended high school in 
Wheaton, then went on to college and as soon as she is able will be working. Before coming 
here, seven year old Farah lost one full leg and most of a second to a land mine. She was taken 
to a German hospital and put back together as much as possible. Upon returning to her 
home, she suffered more tragedy losing her father and four siblings to the Taliban. Farah and her 
mother fled to Pakistan (women aren't allowed to live on their own, no matter the circumstances) 
where they were forced to become poorly treated servants. World Relief helped bring Farah and 
her mother Fatima to this country and they have been working hard ever since. 

Farah has had-some good things happen to her since coming to the United States. She won a 
contest by Simon and Schuster and her short life story was made into a book. If you are 
interested in reading more about her, the book is entitled, The Other Side of the Sky: An Afghan 
Girl's Story written under her maiden name Faranaz Ahmedi. 

Her husband Qand came to the US almost two years ago. His family often also fled to Pakistan 
to escape the Taliban. Qand has been learning English in the hopes of becoming a citizen and he 
is working hard as a custodian. He hasn't missed a single day of work since he was hired nearly a 
year ago.

I wanted to tell you a little bit about two people that you have helped. I know that a lot of time, 
money and caring go into a project like this. But, it's also nice to know that the beneficiaries 
merit the help and that they also appreciate your great efforts. 

Bless you in this undertaking, 
Connie Cowan