Soldiers of the 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, German army and female Afghan Border Police personnel join together for a group photo after working on transforming a room into a daycare for the children of ABP personnel.(37th IBCT photo by Sgt. Robert Pant)
MAZAR-E SHARIF, Afghanistan (August 13, 2012) — Female engagement team soldiers from 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team along with soldiers from Germany and Afghan Border Police celebrated the opening of a daycare facility at the 5th Zone, near Mazar-e-Sharif, July 10.
The project planning began in the spring of 2012 when 37th IBCT FET spoke with female ABP soldiers during a shura to identify their needs.
ABP female soldiers expressed concerns about their children being cared for by neighbors or left without anyone to watch over them while they went to work.
“Many of them admitted that they were fearful all day and disliked going to work because of the constant worry,” said Staff Sgt. Desiree Layne, FET leader and project coordinator, assigned to 37th IBCT.
The news about a new daycare spread quickly via Internet and word of mouth.
Layne quickly coordinated with a group of German soldiers stationed on Camp Mike Spann, near Mazar-e Sharif to help build the daycare and install shelves and cabinets for the center. The FET then contacted friends and families of 37th IBCT and explained the need for supplies for the new daycare.
Families and friends of the 37th IBCT understood the request and immediately started mailing clothes, toys and other supplies to Afghanistan.
Katrina Detling, wife of Maj. John Detling, future operations officer assigned to Headquarters Company, 37th IBCT, was one spouse who supported the request for supplies.
“After reading the story that Staff Sgt. Layne sent out about the ABP women, my heart went out to each one of them,” said Detling. “I am a mother of three small children and I can’t imagine having to go to work and leaving them unsupervised. I’ve never been a part of something organized like this and was excited to help with a project directly impacting Afghanistan with my husband stationed there.”
Detling contacted her church friends.
“The responses I received from friends wanting to help were overwhelming,” said Detling.
Layne coordinated a collection point at Camp Mike Spann and multiple trips were made by German and American soldiers to the 5th Zone to build and set up the daycare.
The daycare room at the 5th Zone was sectioned to accommodate areas for sleeping, playing, learning, and snack time. A large mural was painted on one wall and the windows were tinted to prevent the intense sunlight from overheating the room.
On Tuesday, July 10, American and German soldiers who worked on the project were excited to greet several ABP female soldiers who brought their children to the daycare for the first time. The visit allowed soldiers to interact with the children.