Celebrating the Women Bringing Hope in Afghanistan  

In marking International Women’s Day, we want to recognize the determination and commitment of Afghan women. Medair has been working in Afghanistan for 28 years and has had the privilege of witnessing dedicated women serving the most vulnerable individuals in their communities.

Medair’s female medical staff are currently providing more than just health and nutrition services in Afghanistan; they are bringing one of Medair’s values: hope. Showing up to work each day, despite the challenges and obstacles, these women commit their time and energy to meeting the needs of other women, mothers, and children throughout their communities.

Kubra, from Central Afghanistan, is one of the individuals that Medair’s female medical staff are able to serve. She has been suffering from acute depression and suicidal thoughts. After hearing about the services that Medair provides, Kubra went to the clinic site. “I eagerly attended Medair’s Psychosocial Counselling Site in our village. I was warmly welcomed by Zahra, Medair’s Psychosocial Counsellor. In addition, she assured me that all communicated information would stay confidential, and then we began psychosocial counselling sessions. With the course of time, I had five counselling sessions that have exceedingly changed my situation. I feel much better than I used to. I am hopeful and optimistic about the future. I am sure that the future holds for me my happy moments.” Kubra also stated, “I really appreciate Medair’s assistance to women like me. Medair was like a light to me, in my darkest moments of life.”

Medair’s female medical staff serving a mother and her child in Southern Afghanistan

Medair’s Chief Executive Officer, Anne Reitsema, recently visited Afghanistan to meet with staff and see for herself some of Medair’s programme activities. Afghanistan remains one of the globe’s largest humanitarian crises, with an estimated 23.7 million people – more than half of the population – projected to require assistance 1. Following her visit to Medair’s Health and Nutrition facilities in southern Afghanistan, Anne was struck by seeing this hope in action and the value of the work that is being done by colleagues. In a message to staff, Anne said “I saw not only that we go the extra mile to reach the most vulnerable, but that we meet them as they go the extra mile to meet us, in their care for their children, and in their time of greatest need. That care and compassion that you are showing the people of Afghanistan is something that is bringing hope, not even just within our team, but even outside of our team. Talking to the women in the clinic and hearing how thankful they are for the love and care shown to them, and the commitment to their health and the health of their children, was very inspiring.”

Medair’s Chief Executive Officer , Anne Reitsema, visiting with health and nutrition staff in Southern Afghanistan.

The support from and for women is something contagious and when you get to witness it, you are compelled to be a part of it. This is reflected in a message from one of our Medair Afghanistan colleagues: “I want to say, you are strong, resilient, and capable of achieving anything you set your mind to. Your voices, ideas, and contributions matter. Embrace your uniqueness, follow your passions, and never let anyone limit your potential.”