About the Situation
By the Numbers
More than 36% of the 30 million people in Afghanistan live below the poverty line
6.6 million people in Afghanistan do not meet the minimum food requirement
72% of the population suffers from illiteracy
According to the United States government and the United Nations, living standards in Afghanistan are among the lowest in the world. In a 2013 report, the UN ranked Afghanistan 175th out of 186 countries on its global Human Development Index, which measures education, lifespan and economic performance.
Many of AFghanistan’s challenges are due to conflicts, but others are inherent because of its climate and terrain: while 78% of the population works in agriculture, only 12% of the land can be farmed. Survival is not taken for granted: one in every 10 children born in Afghanistan will die before age 5.
How Islamic Relief is Helping
Islamic ReliefTM has been working in Afghanistan since 1992, providing aid services to people who have suffered for generations. Poverty, war, natural disasters and drug trafficking have all contributed to the anguish of the Afghan people. In response to the 2001 conflict in the region, Islamic Relief Afghanistan opened its permanent office. Early projects combined emergency relief with economic development initiatives, in addition to drought relief and food assistance. Later projects added education, water and sanitation, livelihood support and rebuilding of community infrastructure.
Here’s a breakdown of some programs Islamic Relief has supported in Afghanistan:
EDUCATION FOR ORPHANS AT KHOOG KHOOR ORPHANAGE CENTER
The project provides more than 450 orphans with access to quality primary and secondary education; to help improve orphanage management; to create jobs; and to build the capacity for in-house training of managerial staff. The efforts have been successful: living conditions have improved, the dropout rate has reduced, and teachers and staff have been trained on improved teaching methodology and child care.
HOME-BASED EDUCATION FOR WOMEN, PHASE 3
This project aims to provide nearly 2,000 women, who have had no formal education, with access to home-based training in arithmetic, reading and writing. The women will also receive education on family finance and business. The program raises awareness about women’s rights, and empowers women to actively take part in building the local economy.
WATER SUPPLY FOR SHELTERS IN BAMYAN
More than 200 families stand to benefit from this project, dedicated to providing clean water through the construction of a deep water well, a stone-made water tanker and the installation of 4,000 meters of water pipelines. This will also provide job opportunities for the local population.
Tens of thousands across five provinces in Afghanistan stand to benefit from a program that will provide food and fuel to help them cope brutal winter weather.
RAMADAN FOOD DISTRIBUTION
The severely cold winter of 2012 made living conditions harsh—and deadly—for many throughout Afghanistan. Islamic Relief worked to get relief to thousands throughout Kabul and Mazar Sharif, two hard-hit areas in country.
HOME-BASED EDUCATION FOR WOMEN IN BAMYAN
Teachers educated 900 rural women in the Bamyan province. Lessons included literacy training, business initiatives and health education.
LOOMS FOR WOMEN
In the Shoor Tepa district of the Balkh province, 250 women were given modern looms to allow them to weave rugs—a traditional industry in Afghan society—and earn a livelihood free of the chronic pain caused by old-fashioned looms.
SHELTER FOR FLOOD-AFFECTED FAMILIES
A flood-resilient shelter project was established to help vulnerable community members in the Kaldar District who lost their homes to floods. The program also provided a Cash-for-Work incentive that offered beneficiaries the opportunity to participate in the construction of the shelter to earn income.
VOCATIONAL TRAINING FOR ORPHANS
About 300 orphans ages 10-18 in Kabul learned to make soccer balls, school bags and silk flowers, and received instruction in tailoring. They were given equipment (such as a sewing machine and scissors) to continue using their skills, and to enroll in an apprenticeship program to open the door to job opportunities.
Islamic Relief USA helped provide nutrition and warmth to 750 families in 2013. Aid packaged enough wheat flour, cooking oil, sugar, rice and charcoal to last a family of 6 for a month. The program benefitted some 3,750 people in total.