Honoring Linda Norgrove

October 04, 2012

DAI employee Linda Norgrove was kidnapped September 26, 2010, in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, and died October 8 during a rescue attempt by U.S. forces. Norgrove was working on the Incentives Driving Economic Alternatives for the North, East, and West Program.

After the tragedy, her parents created the Linda Norgrove Foundation to support development in Afghanistan, and the advancement of women and children in particular. The foundation is a grant-giving trust that funds education, health, and childcare for Afghan women and children affected by the war.

At DAI, we think of Linda often, mourn her loss, and celebrate her memory. The following remarks were written by Linda’s father, John Norgrove. We reproduce them here to mark the upcoming two-year anniversary of Linda’s death.

By John Norgrove

Nearly two years ago now, our daughter Linda Norgrove, who was working for DAI in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, on the IDEA-NEW project was kidnapped and lost her life in a rescue attempt. Subsequently, we started the Linda Norgrove Foundation to help women and children affected by the war in Afghanistan. Earlier this year we traveled there to visit projects the foundation has funded, to meet the people who are helping us on the ground there, to see Linda’s friends and colleagues, and to meet U.S. government officials to promote their funding one of our schemes.

We were accompanied for the first half of the trip by a small team making a film for the BBC, which we hope will shed light on the work of the foundation.

Visiting the projects and seeing firsthand the good work they do was very satisfying. Up until that point, we had only photographs and emails describing local conditions and what was being achieved. Seeing things for ourselves really brought it all to life. We visited the Afghan Children’s Circus, where we have funded lunches for the kids for a year; the Children’s Medical House, where we met children for whom we funded life-changing operations; a disabled children’s home where we provided mattresses and beds where previously they had been sleeping on the floor; and a women’s refuge in Kabul for victims of domestic violence, women on the run from vengeful families, and women released from prison.

Towards the end of our trip we flew to Jalalabad to visit the DAI team that Linda worked with. It was gratifying to see how the staff there held our daughter in high regard; at the same time, we found it emotionally difficult to share memories of her with them. We received heartfelt hospitality from the staff, who also expressed a desire to organize a project near Jalalabad for the foundation.

Although only a little over a week, our trip was extremely valuable, both to us and to the foundation. While it was particularly moving to meet with Linda’s colleagues and friends, the trip also renewed our resolve to continue with our charitable work.

The trip was organized by Marianne Parente, who was employed by DAI to help the foundation on a part-time basis, and Margaret Orwig, a part-time DAI employee who now helps the foundation voluntarily. Thank you both.

The DAI connection has proved so valuable to us over the past two years; it has made the difference between our remaining a very small-scale, short-lived charity and where we are now: consistently giving small grants which make significant changes to the lives of the some of the poorest and most disadvantaged women and children in the world.

Editor’s note: Events to honor Linda Norgrove and benefit the foundation created in her name include the second-annual Linda Norgrove Valtos Peninsula 10K on October 6 in Linda’s childhood home of Uig, Scotland, and a documentary scheduled to air on BBC Alba on October 8.



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