Pleasanton Weekly

Arts & Entertainment - October 12, 2007

Helping Afghanistan

Young girls now in new school, families have health care in clinic built by local nonprofit

by Jeb Bing

Anyone interested in helping young girls obtain an education in Afghanistan or providing families with needed medications and health care have no farther to go than the Prudential California Realty office on Johnson Court in Pleasanton to learn how to help and, even better, contribute to the effort.

That's where local Realtor Cindy Duffy is taking time off from selling real estate to raise funds for the World Transformation Center (WTC), a federal nonprofit organization founded in 2002 by Kathy Ollerton Krafchow. Her husband Ed Krafchow owns Prudential California Realty, which has three offices in Pleasanton, and is the firm's chief executive officer. Although a number of Prudential agents volunteer their time on WTC projects, the nonprofit and Prudential have no formal affiliation.

As the organization's fundraiser, Duffy is in charge of Casino Royale, a festive black tie only dinner party the WTC is hosting at the Crow Canyon Country Club tomorrow night. Proceeds from both silent and live auctions and part of the dinner receipts will be used to pay the $50,000 the WTC needs to ship medical equipment and supplies to furnish the hospital clinic it has just built in Herat, which is located in western Afghanistan far from the capital city of Kabul.

A Utah businessman donated the equipment and much of the medical supplies that will give the seven-room medical clinic an X-ray room, incubators, devices for sonograms, and fully equipped labor and delivery rooms, a first for Afghanistan.

"As it is now," Duffy said, "families must travel long distances to the other side of the country for health care, an expensive trip that many can't afford and just don't make. The clinic the WTC has just built will give them complete care close to where they live."

Kathy Ollerton Krafchow is a recognized vision consultant to business organizations. She has conducted leadership seminars for the last 25 years and has worked with over 150,000 executives. Through her coaching and mentoring, she and those who volunteer their time to work with her, including Duffy, have business and social contacts throughout the U.S., where much of the funding comes from for WTC's efforts.

It was during one of the coaching sessions that terrorists flew planes they had hijacked into the World Trade Center's twin towers, destroying them and killing more than 3,000.

"In searching for a way to help after the attack, Krafchow received an email from the principal of Liberty High School, which is near Ground Zero and whose students were terrified and emotionally distraught," Duffy said. "Krafchow's team of people took that challenge and traveled to Liberty High every month for 12 months to mentor and coach seniors at the school."

The result was the largest graduating class ever at Liberty, and the school's success is continuing.

Seeing the growing fear among the Liberty High students and others that the Taliban and Afghans were terrorists who might strike again, Krafchow's organization decided to help bridge the relationship between the two countries by building a school in Afghanistan. The hope was that some students from Liberty might go to Herat, the site chosen for the school, and help build better relations. The United Nations attack on the country blocked that effort, but the school construction continued. The WTC also sponsored trips by Afghani delegates to the U.S. to discuss writing a constitution.

As a result of the WTC's work, Duffy said the new school now serves 25 villages with two sessions each day and an all-girl enrollment of more than 500. For the girls, it's their first time inside a school classroom, where they were previously banned by the Taliban. The school sits on land donated by the family of Prudential Realtor Ibrahim Mojaddidi, who sells real estate on the Peninsula.

Besides Duffy and Mojaddidi, others on Krafchow's WTC board of directors include Realtors Beverly Herrera and Tiffiny Alexander of Pleasanton, Realtor Nina Jurjevic with Prudential's San Jose office, and Realtor Steve Smith, formerly a Prudential agent who is now with Keller Williams Realty in the Sacramento area.

Although the medical center and its first-through-sixth-grade school (which will keep growing into a full elementary and high school) are the largest permanent projects by the World Transformation Center, the organization also pitched in after Hurricane Katrina to care for some of those displaced. It rented houses and apartments for families and even bought some of them cars for transportation to jobs. WTC team members dedicated their own time and resources to help in the disaster, an effort that lasted two years following the hurricane.

Kathy Ollerton Krafchow and Ibrahim Mojaddidi went to Herat to officially open the new Alfasani Public School that their organization built and equipped, turning it over to Afghanistan Ministry of Education. It was dedicated to the sister of the Liberty School principal in New York who died in the 9/11 attacks.

Although tickets for tomorrow night's Casino Royale are sold out, Duffy asks anyone who wants to help the WTC in its Afghanistan or other projects to stop by the Prudential Realty office at 5111 Johnson Court or send her an email at www.cindy.duffy@prurealty.com.

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