"I borrowed money from my relatives to feed my family,” says Madina from Afghanistan. We are supporting families with Cash-for-Food Assistance

Published: Apr 28, 2023 Reading time: 3 minutes
© Sohrab Rostayee

We drove two hours from Kabul to reach Salar, a village in a hilly region of Wardak Province. The journey was slow as the roads were still damaged from fighting in previous years. Upon arrival, it was clear that most houses had been damaged because of previous fighting in the area, and many families had left.  

In SalIn Salar, we met Madina (50), who has lived here for over 30 years. She lost her husband and four sons during the last 20 years of war. "When I lost my husband and sons, I had no breadwinner in my family to work and support us. I borrowed money from my relatives and shops in our village to feed my family. Sometimes, neighbors and my relatives also provided food to us," she says. 

“We left our house because of conflict and insecurity. I went to another village to protect my family. We returned back to our home last year.” Now, she lives with her two sons, her daughter and six orphaned grandchildren (3 of them are boys and 3 of them are girls) and her two widowed daughters-in-law.

We did not eat enough

Last year, during winter, Madina and her family endured a food shortage. “Before, I did not have enough oil, flour and food for my family. We ate dry-flat bread with tea in the morning and peas or rice during lunch and dinner. We did not eat enough. We have a small farming plot but cannot cultivate it due to lack of irrigation,” says Madina noting the droughts that affected the area in past years.

Despite suffering from high blood pressure, Madina has to care for her orphan grandchildren.

“My grandchildren ask me to buy clothes for them, but I do not have money to buy it, and I feel sad,” she says.

We have supported Madina with cash-for-food assistance twice, each time with the AFN equivalent of $80, under our project funded by the Afghanistan Humanitarian Fund (AHF). The cash helped Madina to buy food and to cover other necessities. “I received two rounds of cash assistance, and bought flour, oil, tea, sugar, and medicine for my family. I also bought clothes for my grandchildren,” says Madina. Since the beginning of the project, we have helped 150 most vulnerable households cope with food shortages and reduce hunger in remote and rural communities. Under this project, PIN also provides short-term job opportunities through Cash-for-Work assistance, focusing on rehabilitation of community assests, such as water canals, check dams on communities’ water ways, and terrace catchments.

17 million people in Afghanistan face acute hunger

According to UNOCHA Afghanistan, about 28.3 million Afghans will need urgent humanitarian assistance in 2023; of these, 17 million people face acute hunger, including 6 million in emergency levels of food insecurity.

People in Need provides food security, nutrition, and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) support to the most vulnerable people in Wardak province of Afghanistan to assist communities coping with food shortages and lack of drinking water, promoting nutrition and hygiene in rural areas.

Autor: Sohrab Rostayee, PIN Afghanistan Communication Officer

Related articles