How Medair’s Cash Assistance Saved Lives and Livelihoods in Afghanistan

Cheenar Khan, a 67-year-old man from a remote district in Southern Afghanistan, has weathered numerous challenges in providing for his family – surviving floods, droughts, economic collapse, and more than four decades of war. Currently living with his third and only surviving wife, 65-year-old Zainab, and with his 11 children pursuing work to support their own families, Cheenar struggles to meet his basic needs. Despite his age, he works as a daily laborer for a local development organization’s intermittent construction projects. Like many people in his home district, Cheenar and his family have been affected by floods, drought, and poverty in the past year.

Thanks to Medair’s Food Security Cash Assistance program, Cheenar Khan received 19,200 AFN (roughly $240) in July 2023 to buy food items for his family and improve their nutrition and well-being. “I’m very grateful to Medair for this support. It’s made a big difference in our lives,” he said.

His wife Zainab is also grateful to have received the cash assistance from Medair: “Before Medair came, we had no food, no water, no seeds, no tools. We were starving and desperate. My husband is sick and cannot work easily, but after receiving cash and training from Medair, we were able to buy what we needed, and I started farming again. Now we have enough food to eat. We’re very happy and thankful to Medair.”

From left to right, Cheenar Khan, a community member pictured with one of Medair’s food security assistants, during the interview after the cash distribution in Southern Afghanistan.

Cheenar Khan’s experience echoes that of numerous others benefiting from Medair’s impactful intervention. Across six villages, Medair extended cash assistance to 3,344 households, reaching the most vulnerable and needy individuals. Medair conducted food security training with each of the beneficiaries, teaching them about nutritional needs and how to make the most of limited food resources.

Natural disasters pose a significant challenge to these communities, threatening their homes, lands, and livelihoods, and leaving them with no hope for recovery. Many were contemplating abandoning their villages to look for better opportunities, but Medair’s assistance changed their outlook, giving them a compelling reason to stay. Members of the community stated: “Medair taught us that we can overcome our difficulties and rebuild our lives here. They gave us hope and dignity. We’re very grateful for their help.”

Salim, a 38-year-old beneficiary from a nearby village, attested to the comprehensive support he received from Medair: “We’re very grateful to Medair for their support. They not only gave us cash, Medair empowered us and made us more resilient.”

Medair staff members provide training to the community members on food groups and dietary needs in their families.

Medair is committed to serving the people of Afghanistan, who are facing natural disasters, food insecurity and extreme economic hardship. With the generous support of its donors, Medair is working to reduce hunger, malnutrition, and vulnerability among the most marginalized and at-risk communities in Afghanistan.