In July, the AIL office in Herat distributed ten 25kg bags of rice and ten 3 liter bottles of cooking oil to ten very needy people that came to the office. Of the ten people that received food, two were disabled, four were widows and four were elderly and unwell. All of the recipients were members of very large families and due to their situation in life, unable to work to support their family.
Food in Afghanistan has more than tripled in price since last year due to a number of factors including an on-going drought and the cost of oil. Many poor families are on the verge of starvation and AIL has decided to expand its emergency food deliveries from winter time only, to a year round program.
Beginning in the winter of 2006, the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) began providing food packets to very needy Afghans in Kabul and Herat. Thus far, over 1300 families have benefited from this assistance. This year 300 families received food and other assistance in Herat during the extremely harsh winter. AIL Herat also facilitated food assistance from the World Food Program to 418 poor individuals attending classes at four of AIL’s Herat centers.
The Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) has expanded its emergency relief program for poor Afghans because of the deteriorating situation for many Afghans. Begun to assist poor Afghans through the winter in Kabul, AIL expanded the program to Herat during the winter and in the Spring expanded it again to meet the needs of Afghans displaced by flooding and Afghans forced to return from Iran.
Following is feedback from recipients from the AIL coordinator in Herat about one delivery to needy families in April:
• AIL sub office Herat distributed food items to 38 widows, 20 orphans and 12 poor men of different areas of Herat city. The total beneficiaries of this aid were 568 people. The food items were a 25kg bag of rice and 3 liters of oil.
• One of the widows said," You can't imagine that how much this food ration will help me. For a long time we have not eaten good food because we are very poor and have very little income".
• A disabled man said," I am not only disabled, my other disaster is poverty. If I was ok, I could support my family and could have a normal life. I thank AIL that reaches the disabled and poor families. This food ration can help us for 15 days.”
The AIL Herat office has also entered into a contract with the World Food Program which is giving food assistance to poor women taking skills classes in three of AIL’s centers. Although there is a lot of administrative work, the assistance is very helpful to the women and their families.
Since December 2006, the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) has distributed packages of food to 345 poor families in Kabul and Herat. An estimated 2510 individuals benefited from these food packages.
In Kabul, distributions were made to widows, orphans, disabled and very poor people that AIL staff identified on the street. In Herat, elders in villages identified the poor, disabled and widow recipients and packages were distributed in several villages.
Some of the stories about the recipients as told by AIL staff are the following:
One widow from a village in Herat Province said, “ For a long time my five children and I have not eaten anything except dry bread with tea with out sugar because we don't have enough income to buy food for us. The only person that supports the whole family is my 14 year old son that sells vegetables on his cart. Every day he is disturbed by the municipality police and he is moved from one place to another place and whatever he got he has to give half of his income to be able to sell from the cart. So the income his income is very less and we are fighting with this bad situation to be alive".
In Kabul City, AIL staff found a disabled man sitting in the snow on a street begging. He is the father of a family and has three sons and his wife is the widow of his brother. The four children of his brother are also living with him. The man has no leg but still he tried a lot to find a work in a school or organization as a door keeper but he could find no job so he turned his face to begging. And by receiving the food he became so happy and thanked AIL a lot and said that in this cold weather AIL saved the life of his children for a few days and God bless this organization and its staff.
Also in Kabul City, an old man was in a garbage dump and collecting bottles of Pepsi and he was looking so sad and tired and it was also snowing. When the AIL staff delivered the food to him, he began to cry and thanked God. He said that he had not eaten for 2 days and he was so sad and wondered what he would take home today and he thanked AIL and said, “God bless AIL who really helped me a lot. There are no words mention for what they did for me.”
AIL is planning to continue this project for at least the next month. It is no longer winter but there has been severe flooding in many areas of Afghanistan and internal refugees are flooding into to Kabul and Herat in search of food and shelter. AIL will continue to provide emergency relief to these and other poor families.
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