KABUL, Afghanistan, December 26 /PRNewswire/ --

- With Photo

U.S. power engineering company Symbion Power, in collaboration with Hart Security and AREVA Transmission and Distribution (AREVA TD), a division of the global energy company AREVA, announced today an initiative to donate boots and socks to children in need in Afghanistan. The program, OPERATION WARM TOES, will at its completion deliver more than 3200 pairs of children's winter boots and shoes as well as more than 2500 pair of socks to children at schools and orphanages near Symbion's projects in Kabul. The first distribution took place at a school in Kabul on December 25, 2008 where expatriate employees of Symbion and Hart gave out the items to more than 800 children.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081226/NEF006 )

Seven years after the fall of the Taliban, Afghans still face a tremendous shortage of electricity. Symbion Power is participating in the U.S. funded power construction program in Afghanistan as well as working to build local capacity. In October of this year, the company opened The Symbion Power Center, a school in Kabul that trains unskilled people to build and maintain power transmission projects. This is part of Symbion Power's efforts to provide opportunities for Afghans to take part in the reconstruction of their country. Over the last few years, Symbion has built extensive electrical power systems in partnership with local companies across Iraq and Afghanistan. Symbion is rated among the top ten U.S. firms in the Iraq reconstruction market.

We cannot ignore the poor conditions many of these people live in, said Paul Hinks, CEO of Symbion Power. Young kids wander around the streets without proper shoes and socks in the freezing winter, so when one of our colleagues, Steve Pearce came to me with an idea to donate boots and socks to Afghan children, I immediately agreed. That is when OPERATION WARM TOES was created. Hinks continued, I realized that we could use surplus space in aircraft we were chartering for our project work to deliver the shoes and socks with no extra transport cost. Each of our partners, including our air charter logistics subcontractor, BDP Projects, were eager to participate and generously donated their time and resources in order to help bring much needed relief to children in Afghanistan. I am very grateful to all of them.

AREVA's TD division is actively involved in Afghanistan's network enhancement which brings vital comfort to the population. OPERATION WARM TOES brings as much essential well being to needy children as bringing electricity to their community. That is why it appeared to AREVA obvious to partner with HOPE Worldwide and Symbion Power for such a project, said Heike Bergmann, Commercial Director for AREVA Energietechnik GmbH.

Symbion is collaborating with Hope worldwide to implement its humanitarian outreach effort. HOPE worldwide is proud to partner with Symbion Power and AREVA TD in this much needed program. Daniel R. Allison, Country Director of HOPE worldwide continued, The winters here in Kabul are very harsh and many of the poorest children do not even have shoes. Providing shoes and warm socks at this time of year is a wonderful expression of care and concern for the real needs of the Afghan people.

For more information on Symbion Power: http://www.symbion-power.com For more information on Hart Security: http://www.hartsecurity.com For more information on AREVA: http://www.areva-td.com For more information on HOPE worldwide: http://www.hopeww.org

Note to Editors:

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A picture accompanying this release is available from the European Pressphoto Agency (EPA) at http://www.epa-photos.com

Julie Foster of Symbion Power, +1-917-282-9310, julie.foster@symbion-power.com /Photo: NewsCom: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081226/NEF006, AP PhotoExpress Network: PRN1