Maryam Mehr, a 4th grade student from north San Diego County, spent Labor Day alongside her friends doing something incredibly sweet; they hosted a neighborhood bake sale to help families in Afghanistan.
But the 10-year-old and her mother, Madina, told NBC 7 Sunday that conditions on the ground in Afghanistan have only worsened since then.
Madina said the country’s fall is weighing heavily on her family both in the U.S. and in Afghanistan, adding some extended family members have made unsuccessful attempts to leave the country since the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul on Aug. 15.
“They were attacked by the Taliban,” said Madina, whose mother is a U.S. green card holder and is stuck in Kabul with Madina’s sister and stepfather. “What’s going on there right now, it’s unthinkable.”
Madina said since U.S. troops returned to the country that gave her hope and security, Americans’ concern for people struck in her homeland has only grown.
“A lot of more people from the community wanted to help now that they know about it,” said Maryam.
So on Sunday, Maryam and a group of roughly 20 friends and community members rolled up their sleeves and got back to work at a second bake sale, setting up tables along Rancho Bravado and Rancho Latigo in Carlsbad and lining them with homemade baked goods – everything from baklava and lemon squares to banana muffins, cinnamon rolls, and sugar cookies.
Behind the table, colorful homemade signs written by children hung, telling the neighborhood and passersby of the effort.
Their first bake sale last month raised nearly three thousand dollars.
“I’m hoping that we can bring even more awareness and we can give even more money to them,” said Maryam.
Madina and Maryam donated half of the proceeds of their first bake sale to Borderlands for Equity, a nonprofit helping Afghan refugees run by Mejgan Afshan, a La Mesa resident who also has family stuck in Afghanistan.
Madina told NBC 7 that with the help of her family in Afghanistan, she was able to get the remaining profits directly to suffering Afghans through wire transfer so they could have food and other necessities that, since the Taliban’s takeover, have been difficult to find.
“I was super happy because I wanted it to go to the Afghan people,” said Maryam.
The group said they know the crisis in Afghanistan won’t be solved by a few bake sales but said as long as they can keep the country on people’s minds, they’re in this for the long haul.
“The Afghanistan issue is not just a one-day or one-month situation,” said Afshan. “It is an ongoing situation and crisis…and the Afghan American community deserves better.”
Madina said Sunday’s bake sale raised over $2,800 which will be donated to UNICEF for the Afghan people.