Poor Kabuli families reach breaking point under the strain of COVID-19

  • 0

Poor Kabuli families reach breaking point under the strain of COVID-19

Many of our clients are amongst the poorest women in Kabul. Our staff work with these women to try to help them find a regular income. Our volunteers work to find solutions faced by such women and their communities. We need your help to continue this work.

Mental health services are almost non-existent in Afghanistan so families are left to care for loved ones. Qulsom and her two children struggle to make ends meet. Qulsom’s husband suffers from regular periods of amnesia and in a city with high levels of criminality and terrorism this is worrying. He can’t remember where he lives and sometimes it is several days before he gets home to his frantic family – exhausted and hungry. He tries to find work as a labourer but he cannot keep a job. Gulsom and her husband have two sons – aged 8 and 12 – they have no childhood. They go around their neighbours collecting scraps of bread which they sell to a trader for animal feed. Altogether their income is less than $0.50c per day for each of them. Gulsom tries hard to send her sons to school, sometimes they go but it depends on charity from neighbours. Eggs are a luxury and the family never sees meat. The family eats tea and a little bread for breakfast and bread and potatoes or beans in the evening. Zardozi improved Gulsom’s tailoring skills and showed her how to find work in her neighbourhood, she also helps in her local bakery. In these times of crisis this is the best that Qulsom can manage.

The world has heard about the difficulties faced by widows in Afghanistan. Palwasha’s husband, like so many thousands of women in Afghanistan, was killed when the youngest of their 7 children was 12 years old and she was pregnant with their last child. One of her children has a kidney problem which Palwasha is unable to treat as she doesn’t have the money for the medecine. They rent some space in the basement of a partially completed house in Kabul. In a city of crime this leaves them vulnerable to thieves and other criminals. In the bitterly cold winters of Kabul they try to close the empty window spaces with cardboard. The family eats tea and a little bread for breakfast and bread and potatoes or beans in the evening. With so much anxiety, living in the cold and lack of nutritious food, the children all have to go out and work for the family to survive.

When Palwasha joined Zardozi 5 years ago she was given training to improve her tailoring skills. She had good embroidery skills so she was shown how to do beadwork for which there is a good market and introduced to a wholesaler who likes her work. Like many women she had rarely left home before her husband died and she was terrified. Staff coaxed her and worked with her to get her used to working outside the house. Now her youngest daughter runs the house, whilst Palwasha is working from home or out in the market.  Palwasha is slowly making some savings. When she has enough she will take out a loan from Zardozi and hire some women to work for her doing beadwork and be able to earn a little more money.

 

 


Leave a Reply

Search

Newsletter