Writing a letter to you about this felt most appropriate. You've supported our mission for years and for the majority of us--it's personal.
Throughout history, it's always good to remember--All things are built just to fall apart.
As you know, we began this company and mission with the intent to rally compassionate people to help those overlooked by the media, government, and major corporations. Build products in war zones to create jobs and the accompanying security, put footwear on bad ass people committed to being better humans, and use profits to fund girls schools in Afghanistan.
Admittedly, it was an audacious mission that many believed would fail. 10 years later, we're all still here. Unfortunately, the final part of our mission came to an end in August of 2021.
With the fall of Kabul and the new government, Aid Afghanistan for Education had to close its doors to the 13 schools in Northern Afghanistan.
To say it's a loss is an understatement. If you know me and been in the circle of Combat Flip Flops, you know it's been a struggle. But regardless of how tough the struggle, the entire team would saddle up and continue forward because somewhere in Afghanistan, a little girl was sitting in a classroom learning to read. It was our purpose. And now that purpose is gone.
In reading this, I hope you mourn the loss alongside us.
How do we move forward from here? We do what we always do--saddle up, recognize the good we did in the world while we had the time and stage, then refocus on another equally positive endeavor.
Be proud that you're part of a community that put over 1,000 young girls in school. Without you, they never would have had that chance. And because of you, they have a chance now. If they made it out, they can attend school elsewhere. If they didn't, maybe they're the voice that will bring women's education back to Afghanistan. But neither of those groups would have had that chance if it weren't for you.
It's been a tough couple of months settling in with the reality of the situation. Inside the front cover of my journal is a Venn Diagram with two circles. On the left, "What you can control." On the right, "What matters." In the overlap, "Focus Here."
We can't control the gross ineptitude of governments and the current stranglehold on Afghanistan. So for the time being, we have to let it go and focus elsewhere.
We will continue to make quality products in post conflict areas. We will continue to help veterans at home.
What we can control. What Matters. Focus.
With the Utmost Gratitude and Respect,
Andy, Griff, Lee
Founders, Combat Flip Flops