By the Afghanistan Dental Relief Project (ADRP)
The Taliban Government has closed the Afghanistan Dental Relief Project in Kabul and seized the land given to the project by the former Afghan Government. The dental project has provided free dental care for over 200,000 poor Afghans during its twenty years of operation.
President and founder of the project, Santa Barbara-based dentist Dr. James Rolfe, originally went to Afghanistan in 2003 and found residents who were dying because they could not access dental care. He returned to Santa Barbara and constructed a modern three-chair dental clinic in a 40-foot shipping container, completely self-contained with its own generator, and sent it to Afghanistan.
He hired an Afghan dentist and nurse and trained them to use it, and started a school to train dental technicians from poor young Kabul residents. Dr. Rolfe continued to build more dental clinics from shipping containers during the following years, going there many times during the last twenty years.
Taliban officials have forcibly closed the clinic a month ago, preventing its four dentists and technical staff members from treating the hundreds of poor Kabul residents from accessing it. Closure of the Kabul Stomatology Hospital, which employed twenty-five dentists and treated nearly a thousand patients a day, has forced thousands of poor Kabul residents to access the free services of the dental project, but now this option is no longer available.
The Taliban are forcing the project off the land, violating its contract to use the land for free, and demanding that the project relocate elsewhere. No other land or support has been offered to help with the relocation, which is estimated to take six months and cost over $10,000. In addition, the project must find a way to support the staff during the relocation period.
When the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan, repressive actions were taken to remove basic human rights for Afghan citizens. This caused philanthropic nations and organizations to withdraw financial support for Afghanistan, and resulted in three-fourths of the Afghan fiscal budged disappearing. As a result, many hospitals and other basic services of the government have ceased to be available to the Afghan people. Now, even though the dental project still tries to serve the people, that has been made impossible. The project is faced now with finding new land which it must rent, in addition to moving expenses and costs of supporting its staff during the transition.
Afghans face ninety percent food insecurity. Most are unemployed. Now the poor will have no access to free them from the pain of dental problems. The dental project can only continue if people come forward to support the relocation of the facility. Please help. To become a monthly supporter or to donate, go to the website https://www.adrpinc.org/ and select “DONATE”, Or contact Dr. Rolfe at his Santa Barbara office, firstname.lastname@example.org or 805-963-2329.