Abdul-Alim and his children
Abdul-Alim* lives in a remote mountainous village with his wife and their three young children. When their first child was born, Abdul-Alim built a house for the family. It took him just two months to build it and the family have lived there ever since.
Many people in this village are farmers, others are shepherds. Abdul-Alim normally works as a labourer, finding daily work in his village and the surrounding area. “Over the winter I struggle to find work, and right now I have none. I am waiting for spring," he said.
Life was already tough in remote areas of Afghanistan, but the past seven months have been incredibly challenging for families like Abdul-Alim's. Economic collapse and drought has resulted in 80 per cent of the population facing debt and millions of Afghans facing the prospect of starvation. 95 per cent of the population are not eating enough food. "The thing we needed most was food. We didn't have anything to eat. We sold our home appliances and belongings to be able to afford some food, and we were about to start selling our clothes too."
Many families have been forced to resort to desperate measures like selling their homes after their belongings run out, and travelling to other areas in search of a better life. For Abdul-Alim, this would have meant selling the family home he built with his own hands.
Providing essentials to those who need it most
"Then, I heard Afghanaid was supporting families like mine and I immediately signed up. In January we received cash to cover the cost of essentials and I do not know what we would have done without it. Thanks to this help I was able to buy things like oil, rice, sugar and other food for my family to eat. The money was enough to get my family through the winter. Now I hope to be able to find work in spring," he said.
“If I can find work, I can earn a small amount of income each day to support my family, but there was a drought and a war and everyone is in a bad situation, so there will be a lot of people looking for work and I don't know if I will find enough. Maybe some days I will be lucky."
There is no power in the village but with support from Afghanaid, Abdul-Alim has also been able to buy a small solar panel for his home.
Outside the village and along the road leading back to the provincial centre, farmers have started preparing the land for spring, when they will plant tomatoes and a crop called firola - a medicinal herb that they can get a higher price for at the market.
Soon, there will be some relief as winter passes. For these families, they survived it with Afghanaid’s support, but the challenges they face are long term and will require sustained support.
Helping families fulfil their basic needs is a crucial first step in helping them rebuild their lives. Thanks to the generosity of the public to our ongoing appeal, we have provided over 634,100 men, women, boys, and girls with emergency humanitarian assistance since August 2021. Come spring, Afghanaid will also be working with communities across the country to get agriculture going again, to strengthen their resilience to face future crises, and to once again begin to support themselves.
*Please note: we have changed his name to protect his privacy.