Founded in 1996, PARSA (Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Services for Afghanistan) is a private non-governmental organization (NGO) working directly with the disadvantaged people of Afghanistan.
Over the last 17 years, PARSA has been supported by a wide community of small donors. During the Taliban regime, this grassroots support allowed PARSA to operate secret schools and economic programs for women, and to sustain its programs under very difficult circumstances.
In post-war Afghanistan, this grassroots support has allowed PARSA to be highly creative in program development and to take the lead in the NGO community advocating at different levels in the Afghan government to initiate change in social protection programs that serve the disabled and destitute, women “head of households” and orphans.
Since 2005, Marnie Gustavson, Executive Director, has been working with PARSA’s senior management team, Yasin Farid, Palwasha Fawad, to develop and implement groundbreaking programs in close partnership with Afghan government agencies. The Healthy Afghan Community program series addresses critical psychosocial issues and social problems using culturally appropriate methods.
With the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled, PARSA is working to initiate change in the national orphanage system so that the most vulnerable children in Afghanistan can have care in this post-conflict country.With the Afghan Red Crescent Society, PARSA is rehabilitating and modernizing the “Marastoons” or “places to find help” — an Afghan cultural tradition of social protection for vulnerable people.
The Healthy Afghan Girl program is a psychosocial training program that is being piloted in two Kabul girls’ schools where the PARSA staff is training teachers to identify learning disabilities and trauma so that the children can get extra support that gives them relief and supports their success.