Case Story ERDRR-East Region

We are worried we won’t survive the winter– Sharifa, a 30-year-old mother of six in Nangahar

Caption: Sharifa sits with her family outside their home in Nangahar province, Eastern Afghanistan. Credit – OCHR

Project Name: Emergency Assistance and DRR Support to Rural Communities in Nangarhar. (ERDRR)

Donor Organization: Christian Aid-Afghanistan.

Implementing Partner: OCHR (Organization for Coordination of Humanitarian Relief).

Date and Address: Dec 16, 2022 (Moy Mubarak village in Surkhrod district, Nangarhar-Afghanistan).

East Region Nangarhar- Afghanistan:

Case study – Providing food aid to struggling families in Nangahar, Afghanistan.

Over half a million people in Nangahar province – approximately a quarter of the population are currently at risk of famine. Christian Aid’s local partner OCHR (Organisation for Coordination and Humanitarian Relief) has provided food packages containing items including flour, rice, cooking oil, pulses sugar and salt to 500 particularly vulnerable families living in two districts of the province.

Sharifa is a 30-year-old married mother of six, with children ranging from 1-10 years of age. She lives in a rundown house owned by a relative in Jalalabad city in Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan. Originally from Bishud district, the family moved to Jalalabad as they couldn’t afford the cost of rent in their home village.

Sharifa’s husband suffers from back problems and as a result struggles to work. Sometimes he and some of the couple’s children could get work in a brick factory in Jalalabad, earning 50 Afghanis a day (equivalent to €0.40), which isn’t enough to meet their daily expenses.

“If my children don’t work in the brick factory, we have to sleep hungry that night,” Sharifa says.

But as Sharifa explains, the economic crisis in the country has really deteriorated, impacting the family’s ability to bring in any income at all.

Recently, brick factories stopped working and that has left us without any income for months. It is very difficult for us to afford food because of this,” Sharifa says.

“We have faced food shortages for months; I don’t have enough food for myself and my family to eat each day of the week. We are all suffering from severe hunger. We can only afford to buy two loaves of bread and a few cups of green tea, not every day but some days of the week.”

“We are a poor and hungry. We can only eat one or two meals a day, and we don’t have enough drinking water,” Sharifa adds.

According to Sharifa, the lack of food has taken a toll on all their health but without an income, her family are unable to afford medical treatment. Her five-year-old son Muhammad, suffers from epilepsy, and has developed bronchitis. The family took out a loan from the brick factory to pay for his medicine, which according to Sharifa has had little effect, as well as to pay for Sharifa’s husband to get an X-ray, and this will need to be repaid.

Christian Aid’s local partner provided emergency assistance in two areas of Nangarhar province to 500 families (reaching 3,500 people) focusing on vulnerable families with pregnant and new mothers, widows, those suffering from a chronic illness and malnourished children. Sharifa’s family received a hygiene kit containing items including soap and facemasks as well as a food package containing flour, rice, cooking oil, pulses, sugar and salt.

“The assistance that we received really helped us and I am really thankful for it,” Sharifa says.

However, the family are still struggling to get by and Sharifa doesn’t have much hope for the future in the midst of Afghanistan’s ongoing crises and calls on the international community to do more to ensure the country averts catastrophe.

“We are very scared and worried about our future. I feel completely hopeless. My family have nothing to dream for as the situation is getting worse and more deadly each day,” Sharifa says.

 “We are worried we won’t survive the winter. We have no warm clothes, jackets or socks or any fuel for heating. In the past it was hard for us but now we are on the edge of destruction.”

Interviewee: Sharifa. Daughter of Ismaiel.

Interviewee’s Phone: +93781480794.

Interviewer: Mrs. Nasira Safai. (Community Mobilizer/Hygiene promoter-OCHR).

Translated by: Ahmad Taha Nesar. (MEAL Officer-OCHR).