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'Healing can take place': TAPS program brings widows together who lost spouses in war

TAPS founder Bonnie Carroll, left, with Bushra Farkish and her son, on the right.{ } Monday, Sept. 20, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Bonnie Carroll/TAPS){ }{p}{/p}
TAPS founder Bonnie Carroll, left, with Bushra Farkish and her son, on the right. Monday, Sept. 20, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Bonnie Carroll/TAPS)

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The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, known as TAPS, is bringing together American and Afghan widows who lost their spouses in war.

In 2012, TAPS staff traveled to Afghanistan to see first-hand some of the devastation after one of the highest casualty years for the Military. In 2015, TAPS was introduced to an Afghan businessman who was looking for a partner to create a program like TAPS in Afghanistan.

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He helped TAPS connect with widows in the Kabul area. TAPS staff then traveled to Kabul in 2016 to launch The Afghan Hope Project.

Bonnie Carroll, the President and Founder of TAPS, says the purpose is to bring employment and stability to the widows of the Afghan National Security and Defense Forces.

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A woman named Bushra Farkish has led the program in Afghanistan since 2016. Farkish fled to America with her husband and son just as the Taliban stormed Kabul in August. She is now working to continue the project remotely.

The Afghan Hope Project trains Afghan war widows to make lapis bracelets. This provides them with a job and an income to help support their families. The project also helps fund services for families of fallen American service members. Click here for the story behind the bracelet design.

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Carroll said it's beautiful to give an economic opportunity to the widows in Afghanistan and to see the power of widows coming together to honor their fallen.

"Healing can take place and we can raise the next generation in stability and security even in these very difficult times. We have an opportunity to overcome the chaos and recognize that we grieve together, and we will also heal together," Carroll said.

You can check out the Afghan Hope Collection, here.

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