Monday August 21, 2023

Islamic Relief has worked in Afghanistan for 24 years. During this time, we have witnessed first-hand the resilience and tremendous strength of a people living through war and armed conflict, who appreciate your love and support more than we can fully convey.


Thanks to your support, our Qurbani campaign in this region during Dhul Hijja helped to lift the spirits and bring nutrition and comfort to many families, including Khadijah’s, on Eid-ul-Adha.


Khadija is a 35-year-old single mother who lives with her five children in a single room, in a remote neighbourhood on the outskirts of Kabul. Her husband abandoned the family after developing a drug dependency – a heartbreakingly common occurrence in this embattled and traumatised country.


Khadija walks three kilometres into Kabul every morning, in search of housekeeping and other odd jobs. Even on the days that she does manage to secure work, the money that she earns is still not enough to make ends meet. Restrictions imposed by authorities, as well as social norms, severely limit women’s employment opportunities, making life extremely difficult for families without adult men to share the burden.


Khadija has very reluctantly had to take her eldest daughter (15) and son (12) out of school, to help support the family. The children currently work in a carpet weaving shop and make a joint monthly income of 2000 AFN, which is equivalent to just R457.


Khadija’s family is one of more than 21,600 who received a Qurbani parcel from Islamic Relief to help them celebrate Eid-ul-Adha.


“Eid has been a special day for children since I was a child,” Khadija remembers. “We used to dress up in new clothes, visit friends and family, and go out to see nature. Most children here whose fathers are around are all dressed in new clothes during Eid. My children will ask me where their father is, and I will make up stories that he’s coming. He will not come,” she says, fighting back tears.


“Before my husband fell into the drug menace, we could afford meat once a week, sometimes once a month. [Now] meat is not cooked in our home for months on end,” Khadija says, adding that this Qurbani is only the second time that her family has eaten meat in five months.


“When we had dinner, my children and I prayed for those who paid for our meat and delivered it to us. May Allah SWT reward them abundantly. We are so happy. It’s a different day.”


Rising costs of living exacerbate hunger crisis

Khadija’s is just one of the countless stories of single mothers and female-headed households struggling to support their families in a conflict-riddled country that is also prone to natural disasters.


The cost of basic household items like flour, oil, rice and gas for cooking have almost doubled over the last two years, making these essentials unattainable for many families – some of whom have been forced to sell their properties, cut back on meals, or send their children to work to help put food on the table.


Two years since the Taliban’s return to power, the people of Afghanistan continue to face tremendous challenges, including high unemployment rates. Last year, the country also experienced its third consecutive year of drought – the worst in 30 years. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 25 out of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces experienced either severe or catastrophic drought conditions, affecting more than 50 percent of the population.


This is of course compounded by worsening economic hardship and the effects of four decades of war, which have left half the population in acute hunger.


Amid this growing crises, Islamic Relief continues to provide essential services in 15 provinces across the country, most of which are prone to recurrent disasters.


Send your love and support to families like Khadija’s by donating to our work in the region.

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