The legacy of kidnapped Scottish aid worker Linda Norgrove, who died exactly five years ago during a failed rescue attempt in Afghanistan, lives on – with £1million raised in her memory.
The parents of the 36-year-old from Uig on the Isle of Lewis set up a foundation following the tragedy.
After the aid worker was kidnapped in Afghanistan, US forces launched a rescue bid on 8 October, 2010, which unfortunately ended in her death.
Her parents, John and Lorna, wanted Linda to be remembered for her contribution to life, rather than the tragedy.
They established the Linda Norgrove Foundation to help women and children affected by the war in Afghanistan.
Dad John Norgrove said: “Our daughter Linda loved the Afghan people and a number of people she met there became close friends.
Lorna NorgroveShe was in the country because she wanted to make it a better place to live, particularly for women and children
“She was in the country because she wanted to make it a better place to live, particularly for women and children. She recognised there were hugely positive aspects to Afghanistan which we rarely had the chance to see because of the constant coverage of the war.
“We don’t have the resources to change the world, but we do help in our own small way to fund projects which have a direct impact on individuals.
“And because we are small we can keep a closer eye on what we are funding and we can keep our overheads to an absolute minimum.”
The Foundation has now raised more than a million pounds to help fund a variety of different projects.
· scholarships enabling 44 poor girls to attend university, including five training to be doctors
· a school in a rough neighbourhood of Kabul which is attended by more than 300 kids. As well as school for the children they also teach commercial tailoring skills to their mothers
· Healthprom, which involves digging underground tanks from solid rock to provide safe drinking water to isolated villages
· the Children’s Medical House which pays for ten operations a year at the French Children’s Hospital in Kabul
· support for an orphanage caring for children with special needs
The charity has also, in partnership with Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, funded Afghanistan Reads! – a network of community- based libraries and literacy schemes for women across the country.
One of the major fundraising projects is the annual run in early October which marks the anniversary of Linda’s death.
As well as the Valtos 10K on Lewis, runners have taken part wherever they are in the world from Washington DC to Melbourne, from Edinburgh to Liberia.
Unusual locations have included an oil rig off Shetland and a research station in Antarctica where the runners faced temperatures of minus 55 degrees.
Since the Foundation was set up in 2010 in Linda’s memory it has distributed one million pounds to help women and children affected by the war in Afghanistan.
It has funded almost 76 grass roots projects.
John and Lorna visited Afghanistan earlier this year to see some of the projects they are funding and meet some of Linda’s friends.
This was their second visit since her death in 2010.
Lorna said: “Afghanistan feels like a very different place and has changed a lot since our earlier visit.
“Security remains an issue, but we felt much more relaxed. We enjoyed seeing the difference we have made on the ground and it was a delight to reacquaint ourselves with some of the children from the orphanage we had met on our previous visit.”