Introduction to Afghanistan
Located in Central Asia, Afghanistan is a country of harsh extremes. Albeit the mountainous landscape and minimal fertile land, fine fruits including pomegranates, grapes and melons are harvested in Afghanistan. The 38.9 million populated country celebrates diverse traditions, ranging from cherished poetry to the ethnic practices of the Pashtun, Tajik and Hazara people.
For many decades, Afghanistan has been ravaged by war and poverty. The ongoing conflict has pushed many people into extreme poverty across the country, with more than 20 million people experiencing life-threatening levels of food insecurity. Additionally, 4.8 million people have become displaced as they are forced to flee their homes.
Gender inequality is still a major issue within the country as cases of gender-based violence remain high with 53% of women experiencing physical violence, and 80% of women ages 24-49 believing that a husband can have justifiable reasons for hitting or beating his wife.
Due to natural disasters, conflict, and poverty, humanitarian concerns in Afghanistan include outbreaks of communicable disease, inadequate healthcare infrastructure, insufficient permanent shelters, food insecurity, lack of access to education, water, and sanitation facilities.
Why do the people of Afghanistan need your support?
For people across Afghanistan, life is incredibly challenging:
9.4 million people are in need of some form of humanitarian assistance, with women and children comprising 78% of this population (OCHA, 2020)
45% of the population are experiencing high levels of food insecurity (IPC, 2021)
4.9 million people in need of WASH related relief (OCHA, 2020)
51% of Afghan women have experienced physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence (UN Women)
Islamic Relief in Afghanistan
Islamic Relief started its work in Afghanistan in 1992, and we were one of the few aid agencies to continue working in Afghanistan during the military incursions. With a main office in Kabul and operations running throughout the country, we provide emergency relief, food aid in partnership with the World Food Program, and development projects in WASH, food security, livelihood, health, and education sectors.
In addition to Islamic Relief Canada’s seasonal Qurbani, Ramadan and Winter projects, we also establish year-round programming that aims to improve the resilience and livelihoods of the Afghan people. These projects include empowering women through socioeconomic opportunities, responding to food insecurity crises, and addressing the WASH and protection needs of vulnerable communities.
Our WASH and protection project provides WASH, gender based violence and child protection support to nearly 43,000 internally displaced people, returnees and host communities in the Nangarhar province.
Services providers are trained in gender based violence and child protection mechanisms, raising awareness in the communities they serve. Additionally, Islamic Relief Canada installs clean water systems and latrines, distributes hygiene items and water storage containers, and raises awareness on menstrual hygiene management to address WASH needs.
More recently, as a result of the Taliban siege of Kabul, ongoing instability and natural disasters, Islamic Relief Canada’s work in Afghanistan has shifted to emergency relief. As we work to address ongoing humanitarian needs, Islamic Relief Canada seeks to continue working alongside local communities to increase the resilience of the Afghan people.
Your donations in action
In the traditional society of Afghanistan, women rarely contribute to family decision-making and income generating activities to meet their very own basic needs. This is further worsened due to the Taliban's regime, community constraints and economic situation.
Islamic Relief Canada’s current project to empower Afghan women through socioeconomic opportunities, enrolls vulnerable women in Herat and Nangahar into a livelihood and education program. Our team provides literacy, vocational and life skills training, as well as livelihood assets and education material.
Farzana is a 36 year old woman who got married when she was 13, currently has 7 children, and was forced to flee her community in search of a better life. She is currently enrolled in Islamic Relief’s women empowerment program, where she receives home-based education support, life skills training, and social opportunities to participate in community discussions.
As a result, Farzana can now read and write, use the skills she learned to sew clothes, and work alongside fellow female entrepreneurs to sell her clothing items and generate income. With her expertise, Farzana teaches 9 other women to sew clothes and engage in income generating activities. She states,
“I am grateful for this opportunity as it empowers me to do more. These new skills help me to proactively engage in all my household decisions, contribute to my family’s income generation and support my children's education.”