Human Interest Stories

Mobilising Community Action (KCDP)

Gundegan community building its drainage system

For a long period of time, several community groups in Gundegan had not completed their drainage project. The groups had committed to level and clean the drainage area, a canal and a road, but the final work had been delayed for some time. KCDP approached the Shura (village committee) and reminded them of the community’s responsibility. Two group leaders then began working on their own to complete the tasks. When other community members saw the two men working on behalf of the community, they were reminded of their personal responsibilities and were motivated to join in the work. The men were equipped with shovels and pickaxes and together they were able to borrow a tractor. Eventually, they finished the work and celebrated the completion of the drainage system. The actions of two men moved a whole community to action.

Self Help Groups (Kandahar Community Development Project)

Aziz*, 34, is a member of a Self Help group (SHG) and lives in Spin Zyaret, Kandahar. He says, “I was unemployed. I didn’t have a main regular source of income for my family, and my life was too difficult. Sometimes I was doing work at a daily rate, which did not fulfil my family’s needs “

After receiving Small Business training, he got to know about how to start and run a small business, and how to keep records of the business. Then Serve Afghanistan helped him to start a small business of selling vegetables in the local market.

“Thanks are due to Serve, for making such learning opportunities for us,” says Aziz, “Now I have a main regular source of income, which can support my family, and I plan to develop my business using the lessons I have learned in the Self-Help Group.”

Aziz’s business of selling vegetables is money-making. Now He supports his family from the profits of his business.

Aziz is an active community member in Spin Zyarat. And now he is glad that he can support his family.

*Name has been changed

Animal Husbandry (ERCDP)

Beneficiary with his heifer

We are a Pashai family, originally from the Salaab Valley, and we have lived here for a long time. My father, who has passed away, was a miller here. I also worked as a miller for a long time. However, with this job I could not make much money as people only paid me 25 grams of flour in exchange for milling 7 kg of wheat. We also didn’t have land for cultivating, any animals or our own house to live in. We rented a room from other people. My wife did work as a handywoman and she cleaned the wheat before milling, but we still had to borrow a lot of money for our living.

One day I got the news that Serve Afghanistan-ERCDP was distributing heifers to vulnerable families through the Shura (village committee) in our village. We were selected as one of the vulnerable families and were provided a heifer. We got milk from our cow and after a period of time my cow gave birth. We make cheese from the milk and sell this in the bazaar. Little by little we paid back all the loans and I bought land in the village. My sons brought water in ghee tins and we built our home ourselves. My life has changed and now we are very happy—my dues are paid and I have my own home and a cow! People wanted to buy my cow for Rs. 60,000 (about 620 USD at time of writing), but I won’t sell it because it is my source of income. I am really very happy now. For all these things I am thankful to Allah and secondly to Serve Afghanistan, and I request that they should keep this programme continuing for always.

Overcoming Tribal Conflict for a Common Goal (CRCDP)

Building a clean water system

The lack of clean drinking water and essential water for agriculture were a problem in the villages of Sallar and Bagh Tikia. These villages also suffered from the many years of conflict between two different, long-established tribes, Suoni and Shueia. The two conflicting groups would not work with one another. The members of the communities did not like the women and daughters walking to other villages to collect water but they had been forced to because of its lack of availability in the villages. Through awareness meetings and negotiations, a carefully prepared grant agreement was made for two groups (one women’s group and one men’s group) — which received a 40,000 Afghani* grant from Serve Afghanistan — to help mobilise the community to action. Group members each donated 1,000 Afghani and the groups mobilised the community to raise a total of 60,000 Afghani to match the 40,000 Afghani from Serve Afghanistan. The community then built a clean water system that all community members could access and use safely.

* 1,000 Afghani ≈ 20 USD at time of writing

Qorban Ali (EMAD)

Qorban Ali

Qorban Ali* lives in Kabul Province. When he was 2 months old, he had a bad flu and his parents took him to the doctor. They learned that their son had a problem with his skull and needed to enter the hospital. After he was checked, the doctors said he would only live 20 more days. His parents brought him home and cried as they waited for Qorban Ali to die. After 20 days, nothing happened and life went on. However, at 9 months old, he still couldn’t hold his head up, so his parents took him back to the doctor, and he had an unsuccessful operation.

When Qorban Ali was 5 years old, he was still unable to eat or drink independently or clean himself. The family heard about Serve Afghanistan’s activities with the EMAD project. Qorban Ali’s parents took him to the Serve field office and enrolled him in the CBR programme. They followed the advice of the field workers and physiotherapists and also brought him to classes for the mentally challenged at the field centre. The teacher worked with him and Qorban Ali learned how to play, how to eat by himself, and how to clean himself. He continues to learn and is very happy. The teacher hopes he will be ready to enter a government school in one or two years.

*Name has been changed

Inzar Gul’s Deaf Children (SHIP)

Inzar Gul’s deaf sons Inzar Gul’s deaf daughter

Inzar Gul* is a strong and hardworking labourer living in Nangarhar Province. He has three deaf children—two sons and a daughter. The neighbourhood kids teased his children and called them crazy. Inzar Gul was desperate to find a way to educate them.

One day, Inzar Gul heard about Serve Afghanistan’s school for deaf children. He became hopeful and enrolled the children in the school in 2003 and 2004. He took all three children to the city for school on his bicycle. As the children grew older, he bought a car to transport them, but it was eventually too expensive to make the commute every day. Finally, Inzar Gul left everything he knew and moved his entire family to the city in order to give his deaf children a brighter future and a good education.

Inzar Gul’s two boys are in Grade 8 and his daughter studies in Grade 6 at the SHIP school. In 2005, the project employed him as a guard at the school. He is now a member of the parents’ committee of the SHIP school and is optimistic about his children’s future. The children are bright students and have learned sign language, as well as writing. Inzar Gul and his family are very thankful for the SHIP school and the difference it has made in their lives.

*Name has been changed

Story of Haroon*, a student of grade 4 with hearing impairment (SHIP)

My family lives in Nangarhar Province in Afghanistan. My Father works as a barber (hair cutter). I was born with a hearing impairment and my family were very sad because there was no proper communication system with deaf people. I created a little sign language by myself but until I was six years old all the other children did not want to play with me, they beat me because I was not able to communicate with them when I tried to play with them. They pushed me to the side and I had no chance to play with them. I wanted to have friends so it was very difficult for me because the people laughed at me. They thought I was a disabled child and couldn’t do anything. My father did not know that I could go to school and can learn like any other child. He started to take me to the shop and I stayed there the whole day.  It was very boring for me. My father wanted me to learn his profession.

One day some people from the SHIP project of Serve Afghanistan came to the district where we live. They realised that I am deaf so one of them asked me by signs, “Do you want to go to school and learn?” This question was strange to me and also to my father because we had no information about Afghan Sign Language (AFSL) or that the deaf could go to school. These people talked with my father and tried to encourage him to agree for me to study sign language and to send me to school. At the beginning my father didn’t accept this because he did not believe that deaf children can go to school and are able to get an education. He wanted me to learn his profession. However, when the SHIP project staff discussed this with my father they explained to him that without sign language I will stay disabled all my life and wouldn’t develop. After a few more visits my father agreed to send me to the school. I went into a deaf class in the school with a well-trained Government teacher, who was working in the Inclusive Education program with Serve Afghanistan and Ministry of Education. I started learning the Afghan Sign Language and after two years I finished the pre-school programme.

Then I joined the 1st grade and continued my education. Now I am studying in grade 4 in an Inclusive classroom with other hearing students. There is one interpreter who is hired by SHIP project who comes to the class every day and interprets what the teacher says to us by Sign Language during the lesson time.

SHIP project staff also trained my family and some of the community members in Afghan Sign Language (AFSL). Now I am very happy because I can communicate with my family and I also have found many friends in the school and can play with them. I also have friends in the community where the people love me. They are very kind to me.

I am grateful to Serve Afghanistan for all work that is done for people with hearing impairment in Afghanistan.

*Name has been changed