Five Stories of Suffering from AfghanistanPublished: Oct 1, 2021 Reading time: 4 minutes
Conflict, drought, and economic instability are conspiring to overwhelm the people of Afghanistan. With winter fast approaching, some families don’t even have access to shelter to protect themselves from the encroaching cold.
With the humanitarian situation in the country worsening, People in Need (PIN) recently interviewed internally displaced people in Mazar-e-Sharif and Kabul to assess their needs. The interviews indicated that insecurity, poverty, and household debt are the primary drivers of their displacement, which in turn has forced them to seek humanitarian assistance. Almost all the interviewees said they cannot imagine what their future holds; they all worried about their children.
Today, millions of Afghans are suffering; every one of them has a story. Here are five.
Toorpekai: One piece of bread for her children
Currently, 5.5 million people are displaced in Afghanistan, including Toorpekai. Her house in the Balkh district of Balkh province was damaged in an airstrike two years ago. “I had to leave my district and come to Mazar-e-Sharif due to insecurity; I brought my four kids with me,” she said. “It has been two years since my husband left me and my kids alone. He was a drug addict, his parents kicked us out of the house.” Now, Toorpekai says she needs a place to live, food to eat, and basic household items. “We really have nothing to eat. I only had 10 Afghani ($ 0.12) today and bought one piece of bread for my kids.”
Shukria: No money, no food, only debt
Shukria, 30, is a mother of four who lost her husband two years ago. She had to leave her hometown in Baghlan province and relocated to Mazar-e-Sharif city to find food and to continue her children’s education. “We are now living in a small room provided by my brother-in-law but still living with no money and food,” Shukria says, adding that she has been sick for three years with an unknown illness. “The [medical bills] have put me in a huge dept.” Shukria, like so many Afghans, worries about what tomorrow will bring. “ My life was ruined and I am concerned about my children’s future.”
Nooria: Displaced by war
Nooria, 30, has three children. She fled Bamyan province almost three months ago. “War displaced us from our hometown and made us move to Kabul,” she says. “My husband fled Afghanistan because of the insecurity and left me alone with three children.” Nooria now lives in a small room that she rents for 1,200 Afghani (about $14.50 USD) per month. “Mainly, we need support with [household items] and money to pay for rent,” she explains. “I don’t know what will happen to my children, as our future is unclear. It all depends on whether we receive some support from my husband or not.”
Abdul: Our primary need is food
“I cannot work but my oldest son is a day labourer; he can find work one day and not another,” says Abdul, 71, a father of ten. “Our main need at the moment is food.” Abdul fled Bamyan province to Kabul due to conflict in the area. “If the security situation in the country improves and jobs become available, we will have a better life in the future,” he says.
Gul Bibi: We do not have enough to eat
“We really do not have enough food to eat three times a day,” says Gul Bibi, a 45-year-old mother of ten. Her husband suffered a stroke last year, resulting in his dismissal from the school where he was teaching. Her oldest son, who is now 16, suffers from mental health problems and cannot work, leaving Gul Bibi as the family’s only breadwinner. “I make kites at home and sell them to the small shop located in our area, through which I can make almost 2,000 Afghani (about $24) per month,” she says. According to Gul Bibi, medical bills for her husband and son have put the family into debt. “I really don’t know what our future holds,” she adds.
People in Need’s continued commitment in Afghanistan
People in Need has operated in Afghanistan since 2001. During this time, we have directly supported more than 1.3 million people, including 123,288 people in 2020 alone. We have no plans to leave the country now, in this hour of Afghanistan’s greatest need.
"Our basic condition to fully restart our work in Afghanistan is that we will be able to support women with our activities and at the same time, women will be allowed to work freely alongside men within the People in Need team," says Klara Mickalova, PIN Afghanistan Country Director. "In a situation where 80% of all displaced people are women and children, this approach is the only way to effectively provide humanitarian aid to those who need it most, while keeping in line with basic humanitarian principles,” she adds.
You can help us continue to support the people of Afghanistan through the Afghanistan Emergency Appeal, which has already collected more than 3.5 million CZK (approximately $161,300).
* All names have been changed for security reasons.