Stories

Afghanistan: A mother’s journey

In order to provide for their families, many Afghan mothers are confronted with daily challenges.

For many years, Latifah* lived a good life with her family in Herat, a bustling city in eastern Afghanistan. As a daily labourer, her husband was able to provide for their family’s needs. Latifah’s life, despite its challenges and Afghanistan’s ongoing conflict, was a happy one.

Over the years however, her husband was also battling with addiction. One day, overcome by it, he left the family home, never to return. Latifah’s situation, almost overnight, became very precarious: she was now a single head of household, urgently needing to provide for her three daughters and three sons.

Latifah started going door-to-door seeking employment, hoping to find any kind of work that would allow her to put food on the table. On good days, she would find temporary work as a cleaner, providing her with a small income. On other days, despite her best efforts, she would return home empty-handed. With determination and perseverance, she was finally recruited as a personal cook for a local family, while her eldest son also found a job in a bakery to support his mother, and meet the household’s financial needs.

Finally, after much uncertainty, Latifah’s life and that of her family seemed to be getting back on track.

It wasn’t long, however, until Afghanistan’s relentless conflict forced them to flee Herat and their newly-found livelihoods. With the support of a relative, Latifah was able to pay for transportation from Herat to the Central Highlands, some 700 kilometres away, where her brother offered her family safe shelter.

A Medair vehicle makes its way to a local community, through the rugged terrain of Afghanistan’s Central Highlands © Medair

Not long after her arrival, Latifah noticed people gathering for a community meeting. She soon learnt that a Medair team had come to present a project they wanted to implement in the village. Latifah was suddenly hopeful that, despite the rapid-paced conflict she had fled but was quickly reaching her doorstep once again, humanitarian organisations were still on the ground, wanting to provide support.

Based on the vulnerability of her situation, Latifah was selected into Medair’s programme and received unconditional cash assistance. Through this project, Latifah received financial support, and was able to decide for herself what to purchase to meet the urgent needs of her family such as food, or items to stay warm during the long winter ahead.

Latifah told Medair’s team that she cried with happiness when she learnt she would receive this unexpected help. While it could not resolve all the challenges she was and continues to face, it did provide her with a renewed sense of hope.

 

 

Name* changed for security purposes.


25 years after Medair first arrived in Afghanistan, our commitment to its people remains unchanged. Learn how you can help here.

Medair is an international humanitarian NGO that provides emergency relief and recovery services to families made vulnerable by natural disasters, conflicts, and other crises.  This content was produced with resources gathered by Medair field and headquarters staff. The views expressed herein are those solely of Medair and should not be taken, in any way, to reflect the official opinion of any other organization.