Strength Renewed

Strength Renewed

Raziah, a 42-year-old single mother of seven, resides in Shergarh village, Ghanikhil district, Nangarhar province. Her family once enjoyed a contented life with her husband, who earned a living through various pursuits, ranging from labourer to village peddler. However, tragedy struck on August 15, 2021, when her husband, a member of the Afghan National Army, was killed in a conflict. Overnight, Raziah found herself the sole provider for her family in the midst of the country’s economic turmoil, left with only their modest home as their remaining asset.

Facing a cultural expectation that discourages women in the village from working outside their homes or taking on labour-intensive roles, Raziah found herself compelled to defy these norms for the sake of her children’s survival. Living in a rural area, she struggled to secure a stable job that could sustain her family, and the challenges were compounded by the fact that her relatives were also grappling with similar difficulties and unable to offer support.

Despite her initial reluctance, she permitted her children to engage in begging on the streets and in the neighbourhoods. At least three of her children had to resort to begging to secure two meals a day. People in the community offered them cooked food and, at times, raw food items. The more generous individuals even provided them with clothing and occasionally some money. Raziah, herself, could only find work during the harvest season, where she earned a meagre daily wage or received compensation in the form of crops. This has been the way of life for Raziah and her seven children for the past two and a half years.

“I never envisioned that my life would take such a turn. My husband and I had hoped for a prosperous and dignified life for our children, but those dreams were shattered. Following my husband’s passing, we encountered numerous hardships, enduring some nights without a proper meal. Finding employment has been a constant struggle, and I occasionally labour in farmers’ fields for a modest income. Instead of attending school consistently, my children are forced to beg from neighbours or wander the streets in search of a morsel of food,” narrated Raziah.

In September 2023, the emergencies team from Community World Service Asia visited Raziah’s residence and selected her as a potential participant for the Hunger Crisis Project1. Raziah received USD 240 in three tranches – November and December of 2023 and January 2024. “After receiving each instalment, I went to the market and purchased essential groceries like rice, flour, pulses, cooking oil, meat, and fruits. My children were overjoyed as I could now prepare meals in our own kitchen. Even after the initial instalments, my children ceased begging on the streets and in the neighbourhood. Instead, they are not attending school,” shared Raziah.

Raziah also participated in the poultry management training and received a poultry package in December 2023, which included 27 hens, 3 roosters, feed, medicine and feeder for egg production. “I always wished for a job that I could manage at home, but I lacked the money to start one. Now, every morning, I go to the coop to check on the chickens. After feeding them, I collect the eggs, using them to cook food for my children. I also sell eggs in the nearest market, where I earn AFN 130-150 daily (Approx. USD 1.8-2). With the money I earn, I purchase household necessities. Occasionally, I share some eggs with the generous neighbours who supported us in the past years. I spent the entire day tending to the house and this small farm. I feel less stressed now, and even my children are very happy,” stated Raziah.

Raziah was also part of the hygiene and nutrition session organised as part of this project in January 2024. Throughout the training, she received comprehensive information on the significance of personal and environmental cleanliness, the importance of a well-rounded diet, and ways to maintain maternal and infant well-being. Raziah has now adopted hygiene practices both at her home and within her poultry farm.

  1. With the support of Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe (DKH) ↩︎