Afghan women have always been more vulnerable to depression and anxiety. They have sacrificed their mental health to domestic violence, gender inequality and social and economical problems by suffering silently. To help women alleviate their pain and speak about their problems, Zardozi with the help of organizations like MEDICA Afghanistan facilitates socio psychotherapy sessions for its clients in community business centers or Manbehs in the three provinces – Kabul, Mazar-e-sharif, and Heart.
The outbreak of coronavirus left a more profound effect on people’s mental health because of unemployment, poverty and loneliness. As the lockdown calls for everyone to stay at home, the rise in violence and abuse against women is more likely to be expected. According to the estimations made by UN agency for sexual and reproductive health, “there would be 31 million cases of domestic violence worldwide if lockdowns continue for another six months.”
Since most of Zardozi clients are now connected through online chat rooms, majority complains are reported about the daily struggles they have with joblessness and the associated family problems that come with it. Mahtab, a client of Zardozi says that financial issues have stressed everyone at home which sometimes results into a fight between her and her husband.
After recognizing the problem, Zardozi regional managers in Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif discussed this issue with MEDICA Afghanistan. The organization was happy to cooperate with Zardozi as part of their campaign against COVID-19 in Herat, Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif.
MEDICA Afghanistan provided contact numbers of doctors who will assist Zardozi clients with their economic and social problems as well as give health tips for free. Mahtab says that when Zardozi shared the numbers through the IMO group, she would call the doctors when she wanted to talk or take advice. “It is hard to find someone to talk to because of the fear of the virus. The doctors seem like nice people. They help me calm down when I am stressed,” Mahtab says.