Afghanaid helped Jawad

Please make a donation today to help vulnerable communities prepare for natural disasters.

In remote rural Afghanistan, poor communities are made even more vulnerable by the regular occurrence of natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes. Over half of all Afghans are threatened by natural hazards and, to make matters worse, climate change is increasing the incidence of extreme weather. With 80% of the population reliant on natural resources to meet their daily needs, being vulnerable to natural hazards means being at risk of losing everything.

Jawad is a charismatic 17-year-old in his final years of high school. If he lived in the UK, this time last year he would have just finished his GCSE’s, but rather than looking forward to a long summer of fun, his community spent months struggling to recover from yet another year of devastating spring floods. Afghanaid has been working with Jawad and others in his community to help them prepare for the floods and earthquakes that regularly hit their village. Now, we urgently need your help to protect more communities at risk.

This summer, you can help more vulnerable families prepare for natural disasters.

Committee member maps out the risk areas
A committee member maps out the risk areas in the village.

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This is Jawad's story,

“My name is Jawad, I’m a 17 year old student. Most people in my village are farmers; they grow corn, wheat and vegetables and keep goats and other animals.

Every spring when the snow melts and the rain comes, our village is flooded. Crops are destroyed, animals die and land gets washed away. My family is lucky because my dad owns a clothes shop, but other families need months and sometimes years to recover and it is really hard for them to find enough to eat. Our village also gets earthquakes from time to time and they can really cause a lot of damage to our houses and the school."

Flooded farm land.

“I used to think that these disasters were beyond our control. But since Afghanaid came and taught us about community-based disaster management I have learned that there are many things we can do to reduce the damage they cause.

Afghanaid helped us organise a Disaster Management Committee at my school. I joined, along with four girls, eight teachers and two of our community elders. We were taught how to identify potential hazards around our school that could affect children. We were also given first-aid training and planted trees in the school compound."

Flood protection wall surrounds the village
Flood protection walls now keep Jawad's village safe.

"One big thing that Afghanaid did was help us build a protection wall to help shield the village from flooding. Afghanaid taught some of the adults in my village how to identify the hazards and map out the risky areas in the village. They learnt how to plan what to do in an emergency, like how to alert everyone when the floods come and how to get everyone to higher ground. They were also trained in first aid and given emergency kits with things like shovels and a megaphone. Afghanaid even gave us seeds so that people who lost their crops could replant.

As a schoolboy, I didn’t think I could help my community. But since participating in this project I am much more confident and I am now part of the school team that is raising awareness among children on how to reduce the risks of disasters. I now know that I have the skills to help my fellow students and siblings when floods and earthquakes happen."

Background information 

For more than three decades, Afghanaid has provided emergency assistance in response to landslides, earthquakes and floods. However, these disasters threaten to erode the hard-won development gains made in rural communities. It is not enough to wait for disasters to strike; we wanted to do more. 

Afghanaid believes that young people can be a force for truly positive change in their communities. That is why we have established some of these Disaster Management Committees within schools. By giving young people like Jawad the skills and opportunities required to unlock their potential, they are able to help build a more resilient future for their communities. 

Flooding is most common during spring time, making summer a difficult time for many in Afghanistan, rather than a joyful time as it is here. This summer, we are asking for your help to continue our vital work to protect communities. Your donations will reach at-risk families, enabling them to anticipate and respond to environmental threats, making their communities more resilient.

So whilst schools are excitedly breaking up for the summer, and everyone is jetting off on holidays, spare a thought for those children and families who struggle during the summer months. 

Please share Jawad's story via facebook or twitter and give generously if you can.

DONATE ONLINE: In just a few short clicks you can donate online.

DONATE BY POST: Send a cheque made payable to 'Afghanaid' to this address: Afghanaid, Development House, 56-64 Leonard Street, London EC2A 4LT. 

DONATE BY PHONE: Have your debit or credit card to hand and call +44 (0) 20 7065 0825 anytime Monday-Friday 10.00-17.00, closed bank holidays.