Saving SCAWNO ~ Let's Pay the Tax Bill
Organized by: Elinor Edmunds Miller
Greetings. We need your help! This past week Dr. Mustafa Sahibzada of Kabul, Afghanistan, and I have been in emergency conversation about a serious tax problem that has arisen at SCAWNO, an Afghan charity organization in Kabul, where he serves as the unpaid deputy director. Dr. Mustafa's letter is included after our plea.
SCAWNO (Supporting Children and Afghan Women in Need Organization) has been hit by the Afghan government with an unexpected $6,000 bill for back taxes. While we have raised $2,500 to date, Dr. Mustafa is in an all but desperate need of an additional $3,500 to pay off SCAWNO's tax liability as quickly as possible. If the tax bill isn’t paid, SCAWNO will be closed and its students ~ poor Afghan widows, girls and boys ~ will be left without a place to learn to read and write, gain a vocation or play sports.
And, to make matters worse, the government is holding SCAWNO’s director, deputy director Dr. Mustafa and the finance officer personally responsible for payment of the tax bill even though they are unpaid volunteers. To date the police are not involved in this matter, but if they become involved, Dr. Mustafa is afraid the three of them will end up in jail from which there will be no way out. Rightly so, their families are terrified by this prospect.
Dr. Mustafa’s integrity is above reproach; he is a genuinely caring and compassionate man with a heart of gold. I have personally known Dr. Mustafa for the past 11 years. We have worked together helping gift school supplies to poor Afghan girls and boys during my eight trips to Afghanistan. To bring the story of Afghanistan to children in America, he and I co-authored D is for Dukhtar ~ An Afghanistan Alphabet in Dari and English in 2012. I can’t speak highly enough of him.
Please join us and make a contribution to help pay SCAWNO’s tax bill. Together, we can Save SCAWNO. Your donations are greatly appreciated.
Tashakur az shoma! (Thank you for you!)
Elinor Edmunds Miller
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Dr. Mustafa's letter * * * * * * * * * * *
Greetings from Kabul and SCAWNO, We pray that you are in great health. I write you today with a heavy heart and a plea for your kind financial assistance as we face a most difficult situation.
My heart has always been deeply touched by the plight of Afghanistan’s poorest women, girls and boys and I have been moved to do whatever I can to help alleviate their suffering and improve their lives.
SCAWNO (Support Children and Afghan Women in Need Organization) was founded five years ago by the late Mr. Arif Sultani, may he rest in peace, to provide educational, vocational and sports training for street working boys and girls who are orphans and to teach widows the skill of tailoring so they could become self sufficient. At Mr. Sultani's urging, I reluctantly agreed to serve as the unpaid volunteer deputy director of SCAWNO. It has given me great joy these past five years to offer hope, encouragement and an education to SCAWNO's students.
SCAWNO is registered with the Afghanistan Ministry of Planning and has provided the ministry with all the required reports to be in compliance with the ministry's rules and regulations. So it was a great surprise and shock when the Ministry of Finance recently informed SCAWNO that it owes $6,000 USD for five years’ back taxes. SCAWNO, as a non-income-generating organization dedicated to educating poor girls and boys and funded through donations, believed it was not require to pay taxes, If SCAWNO had been informed by the government that it was indeed required to pay taxes, the organization most certainly would have taken whatever steps necessary to pay them. While the actual tax rate is very low, SCAWNO was charged this huge amount because of not reporting for five years.
While dismayed, we are determined to pay off the tax bill expeditiously. To date SCAWNO has successfully raised $2,500 USD toward the $6,000 USD tax bill. But we still need to raise another $3,500 USD as quickly as possible.
While SCAWNO's director, finance manager and me as the deputy director are all unpaid volunteers, we are being personally held responsible by the government for payment of SCAWNO's $6,000 USD tax liability. And we will suffer serious consequences if it is not quickly paid in full.
Our humble plea to you is to kindly consider making a financial contribution so that we may be successful in raising the remaining amount needed to pay in full SCAWNO's tax bill.
We did not think that we deserved such reward for our volunteer work during the past five years and for serving the most needy people of Kabul. At the end I am sorry for bothering you with this request, we hope that by the efforts of caring persons like you we will be able to resolve this dilemma.
Dr. Mustafa Sahibzada