Once lived a comfortable and luxurious life, Eqlima’s struggles and hardships start from windowless rooms and a door-less house. This is the story of a mother of 2 children whose husband fell sick from major injuries resulting into damaging his nervous system. Eqlima’s husband was the only provider for the family which did not last longer.
Several years ago, Eqlima took her sick husband to Pakistan in hope of curing his illness. Most of their savings were drained in his treatments and medicine but wasted without any big results. His injuries bled Eqlima’s heart as day by day they lacked the capacity to afford appropriate amount of food and clothes to wear.
“Rents went overdue. We had to evacuate the house in less than five days. My father in-law gave us an old house which did not
have windows and doors. Most nights I had to stay awake to protect my children from any possible threat,” sobbed Eqlima as she recalled this.
Eqlima’s family advised her to divorce her husband and remarry for the betterment of her and her one year old baby’s life. But she had realized one thing and that was if she could help herself that would be through working for herself so that she never has to beg to be saved. She wanted to be capable enough to stand firm against all the problems on her own because incidents such as her husband’s are inevitable.
Eqlima did not leave her husband; instead she worked on her skills of Khamak Dozi and tailoring which she had picked up from her mother. But the amount of money she could earn did not suffice for meeting all of the needs of her children and sick husband. Her in-laws had also stopped supporting her.
Sometime later, Eqlima’s neighbours informed her about Zardozi’s services but her in-laws family did not like the idea of her going to an NGO because all of the traditional families see it led by foreigners who are not Muslims and are dominated with men.
Eqlima attended business, marketing and communications training anyway. She didn’t listen to what her family was saying, because she was not dependent on them. Her hard work was slowly paying off. After some time, she became service provider to her Manbe (Community Business Centre) and began to train other women which further enhanced her skills and encouraged her to attract more customers. She earned enough to repair and furnish her house. “These rooms, kitchens and bathrooms you see is the fruitful result of my work, nobody else did it for me,” said with pride Eqlima.
She added,” I remember when I started with 300-500 AFS but now my income is around 15,000 – 20,000 Afghanis per month. My children are in a good school, my husband is getting better, and I can buy every necessary thing for my house. I also bought myself some nice jewellery.” Eqlima says that her story even inspired her sister-in law who was against her work. Now she goes to Manbeh every week and I help her with her tailoring skills. I am very grateful to Zardozi. It directed me to the right path.”
Eqlima is not the only woman who comes with difficulties as such. There are more like her but what we can do is to give them the feeling that they are not alone in this fight and with some motivation and guidance they can find their way out.