“Five years ago, only half of our children were going to school. Today, I can say that there not a child who is over six years who is not going to school. We are so proud and happy. This cannot have happened without the support of Actionaid. I have no doubt. I am a happy mother today because your child sponsorship has made my children happier, busier and eager to learn. At least their future will be bright”.
Words that came from Negina, mother of Subaida, a bubbly 10 year old sponsored girl child from Aghaboy village of Balkh district is a tribute to our supporters. Actionid’s persistent investment in the community empowerment is paying off. This could not have happened without our sponsors.
I was sitting within the small child centre in the village with some of the parents of our sponsored children, surrounded by many a eager young face.
Sitting in that crowded room with no ventilation, I found strange to talk to women who had fully covered themselves with blue or white Burkhas with only a netted opening in front of their eyes. I was feeling uneasy, but they are used to that.
I asked them if they have experience any positive changes since Actionaid’s intervention in the village. “Of course, what a question to ask…” Fatima exclaimed with an audible chuckle. “Few years ago, women’s lives was confined to the four walls of her home. Today, we feel free to move and meet others. Our children go to school. Our income has improved and there is a positive environment.” Fatima affectionately clutched her granddaughter who cuddling her closer.
Negina, married to a farm laborer, is a mother of 5 children. “Last year, there was no rain and no snow. Most of the farmers lost their crops and my husband could not find any jobs. We were in misery and my husband was thinking of going outside the province. At that crucial time, Actionaid selected us as one of the beneficiaries to receive six bags of wheat. I don’t know what we would have done without that timely support. Slowly, we recovered. This year, the snow was good and my husband is getting work. Actionaid was there to help us during the crisis and we will never forget that.”
Fatima is a grandmother now and her 9 year old granddaughter Monara is a sponsored child. “We are told that our country is getting billions of dollars. We have never seen them. Nothing has come to us from anyone except Actionaid. It is that small support that we get from Actionaid that is changing our lives.” Her words carried wisdom of years, having gone through the worst when her husband was brutally killed by Taliban. “For four days, we did not even see his body. I was left alone with my eleven children. I was terrified. I don’t know how I survived and pulled through”, I could feel tears swelling in her. She can’t even emote openly.
Ghulam Mohammad is a farmer and father of Yunus, a boy of 11 years and reading in class 6. “I am illiterate, but my son is intelligent. He is going to school and enjoying also. My life has changed since Actionaid came to our village. Last year, I received seeds and fertilizers. I got training to make my harvest better. This year, I will have a good harvest and I will give back the seeds to the community seed bank. Ghulam is a member of the food security network, a group of small farmers who provides the much needed safety net to be resilient to shocks and adversities.
Do you want to say anything to the sponsor of your child, I asked. “Tell our supporters how much we are thankful for their support. I don’t know them, but I know that they are our well wishers. Please tell them that every day, when we pray, they are in our minds. May Allah bless them and their family!” Fatima’s words echoed in my ears as I took leave from those beautiful people who dreams of a better tomorrow.