ActionAid is a global movement of people working together to further human rights and defeat poverty for all.

Where are those Billions that have come in our names?

Monday, June 11, 2012 - 09:30

“Three years ago, only half of our children were going to school. Today, I can say that there is not a child who is over six years and not going to school, thanks to the support provided by ActionAid. The child sponsorship has made children happier, busier and eager to learn. At least their future will be bright.” Words that came from Negina, mother of a bubbly 10 year old girl named Subaida from Aghaboy village of Balkh district is tribute to our supporters. Our persistent investment in the community empowerment is paying off.

The child centre in the village was filled with the children’s chatter as I met with some of the parents of our sponsored children. Nothing inspires me more than the time in the field with our rights holders. However, sitting in that crowded room, I found strange to talk to women who had fully covered their heads, only a netted opening in front of their eyes. I was feeling uneasy, but they are used to that.

“We are told that our country is getting billions of dollars. We have never seen them. Nothing has come to us from government. What we have received is support from ActionAid.”

 File 8292

Monira (L) and Subaida (R) with their guardians  

“Let me tell you something” Fatima, grandmother of another sponsored girl child Monira is forthright in her talks, “It is small things in life that bring big changes. Like that, it is that small support that we get from ActionAid that is changing our lives.” Her words beheld 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 dead body. I was left alone with my eleven children. I was terrified. I don’t know how I survived and pulled through”, I sensed that her eyes were flooded with tears when she shared her life. I shuddered at the thought of leading a life so hidden from outside world.

 “Few years ago, women’s lives were 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.”

Negina is mother of five children and is married to Mustafa, a farm laborer. “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 in search of labour. That was the time when Actionaid came with food for work and we received six bags of grain. 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.”

File 8278 Ghulam Mohammad and his son Yunus

Ghulam Mohammad is a farmer and father of Yunus, another sponsored boy of 11 years studying 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.

“Please tell our sponsors 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 families.”