The combination of her husband's death over a year ago and drought has left Firoza, 24, and her young daughter not far short of starvation.
For water Firoza has to walk to a shallow well 2 km from her house in the village of Murdian. The well is always shallow and the limited water is always salty and sulfuric but she has no other option.
Before I used to have rice, beans, vegetables and sometimes meat; now I hardly find enough wheat to make bread with boiled water.
Firoza used to get work in others’ houses, washing and cleaning. Now she has lost her job and struggles to get any food from her father’s household, her parents in law or other close relatives.
If she does occasionally manage to earn any money from working in rich people’s houses, the money does not go nearly as far as it used to because food prices have increased considerably in the last six months.
“Previously”, she says, “14 kg wheat cost 180 Afs and now it’s risen to 280 Afs”. When asked how much food she has at home, Firoza said “Just enough wheat to last less than one week”.
Firoza struggles to feed her young daughter, but all she ever has to offer is bread. On a such a limited diet both are suffering from extreme malnutrition, lacking in any fresh fruit and vegetables or protein.
My daughter always cries of hunger. I give her a piece of bread but she asks for rice and soap.
"As a house wife I used to work within my home busy with cleaning, washing cloth and preparing food but since my husband passed away I work in my neighbour’s home to get some food."
When desperate Firoza goes to her relatives for their leftover food and Zakat, but they are struggling too and the drought may go on for some time.
If the drought continues for a long time, I will have no choice but begging. There is no other option for us other than suffering and surviving.
Fortunately Firoza has received aid during the drought. "I’m happy that ActionAid has provided me with a food package that will be sufficient for two months for me and my small daughter."
With food to sustain her she will be more able to find work, but she still needs to find a way to support herself. "I need to find an alternative way to find food. I would like to find work if I can, I would like to learn carpet weaving. I hope that if Action has any plans to help women establish livelihoods such as carpet weaving, that I would be considered as one of the beneficiaries in the future."