Now I am able to feed my children and provide them with all the basic things I couldn’t afford before, like clothes and medicine. I am happy now and I can see my children are too.

37-year-old Benafsha lives with her five children in Nayabe Gahrbi, a remote rural village in the north of Afghanistan. Her husband left to work in Iran five years ago, but has not been sending money back to the family. Since then, Benafsha and her children have been relying on what she can produce from their land and livestock to survive. “Before joining Afghanaid’s training course, our situation was getting worse and worse, I was working hard on my land but it was not enough," she said, "It was too difficult for me to provide my children with the basic things like food, clothing, health, supplies for school and so on, and I was always worrying. I did not have any financial support from my husband or anyone else. It was all relying on me."

Single mothers like Benafsha are some of the most vulnerable people in the world to crises like the pandemic and climate change. Villages like Nayabe Gahrbi have been living with the effects of a changing climate for years, resulting in poor harvests, extreme weather patterns, and increasingly severe droughts and flash-floods. We support communities like Benafsha's to work together to adapt to their new reality and build their resilience to future crises. 

“When Afghanaid staff came to our community, they were looking for people to take part in their home nursery training who already had an interest in agriculture, and who would find this support the most helpful, and I was very keen to get involved,” she recalled. 

Alongside the training course itself, Benafsha received poly pots, walnut seeds, pistachio seeds and the tools she needed to get her home nursery going, including a sprinkler, shovel and a metal net for nursery fencing. “With the help of Afghanaid’s team, I was able to successfully cultivate pistachio and walnut saplings in the poly pots,” she said.

“Afghanaid enabled me to learn something new and increase my skills. I was so happy when I was busy working in my nursery. We also found that weeding the nursery was a good hobby for me and my children to do together.” she added. “Through  the ‘buyback mechanism’, Afghanaid purchased 450 saplings from me, and I was able to plant 100 saplings in my own land and garden as well.”  

This home nursery training is a vital aspect of our work to combat the effects of climate change in remote rural communities like Benafsha’s. The saplings grown are then planted on nearby hillsides to help reinvigorate local ecosystems and protect against floods.

And Benafsha didn't stop there, “I am so grateful for this help," she said, "The home nursery helped me to get back on my feet and I decided I needed to have a long-term way of earning an income to support my family so, using the money I earned, I bought a sewing machine and the required tailoring material."

"I used the tailoring skills my mother taught me when I was young, and started sewing women’s and children's clothes and selling them to the people of my village for cash. Now I am able to feed my children and provide them with all the basic things I couldn’t afford before, like clothes and medicine. I am happy and I can see my children are too. We are no longer struggling, stuck in a bad economic situation and I don’t need to worry anymore.” 

Benafsha is now looking to the future with optimism  and is busy making plans, “I would like to expand my business and increase my income further by establishing a nursery of fruit saplings. I will sell what I grow at the provincial market and to the farmers of my village. I could also expand the tailoring business to sew more clothes, increase sales and make more income in the future. Thank you very much Afghanaid for changing my life.”  

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