About the Author: Ann Stock serves as Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Seventeen year-old Sher Bano, a former participant in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs' Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program (YES) program, continues to blog for The New York Times, detailing in her latest "Report from a Pashtun Teen" the devastating effects of the floods in Pakistan. As her family struggled to help relatives and others, she described the terrifying scenarios many continue to face and the horrific scenes left behind.
Like many alumni of State Department-sponsored exchanges, Sher Bano continues to be involved in community service since returning home to Pakistan. While she remarks upon the way in which local organizations and people are actively helping one another, she also recognizes that Pakistan needs the assistance of foreign organizations, governments, and citizens.
To help the millions in need in Pakistan, the State Department is providing up to $200 million to support relief efforts, money that is going to local and international NGOs, UN agencies, and through the Government's Pakistan National Disaster Management Authority.
As Secretary Clinton announced August 18, the U.S. government, through the Department of State, has established the Pakistan Relief Fund for all to join in the tremendous relief, recovery and reconstruction effort. Individuals, corporations, and other organizations can send much-needed help to the people of Pakistan by contributing to this fund at www.state.gov. In the United States, individuals can send $10 through mobile phones by texting "FLOOD" to 27722. In addition, you can donate $10 to the UNHCR by texting "SWAT" to 50555.
The Secretary, like Sher Bano, encourages Americans and all members of the international community to assist in these efforts, noting that "now is a time for our shared humanity to move us to help."