After four decades of war and instability, Afghanistan has one of the highest rates of disability in the world, with 80% of adults living with some form of disability, and almost 14% of the population living with a severe disability.

This winter, our teams have been providing life-saving humanitarian support to families most affected by the harsh winter temperatures, many of which are households navigating disabilities. Musafar and Mohammad Ismail shared how cash assistance from Afghanaid enabled them to look after themselves and their families this winter:

Musafar's story

Musafar’s community know all too well the devastating impacts winter can have on vulnerable families in their remote village. With poor transport links and a lack of basic infrastructure, many families in the village experience poverty, unemployment and food insecurity, which only worsens when temperatures drop. 

Living with his family of eight, Musafar has been unable to find work over the past few months, leaving his family unable to meet their most basic needs. Musafar’s wife lives with a disability, and with six young children to feed, times are tough. “We were really suffering from a lot of problems like nothing to eat." Musafar told us, "We have no money to treat our illnesses, and during the severe winter we have no wood to burn. I tried many times to borrow some money to fulfil the requirements of my family but no one was able to extend a helping hand.”

With winter temperatures dipping as low as -25°C, families like Musafar’s require emergency support to ensure they can keep warm and stay protected against illness in the colder months. When Afghanaid visited Musafar’s village to reach those most in need of assistance through the upcoming winter, Musafar immediately notified the team of his family's situation and wife's complex needs, and received life-changing cash assistance.

Now able to purchase the necessities his family require to make it through the winter, and also the medicines his wife needs, Musafar is hopeful for the future once more.

We feel cherished and happy from the assistance of Afghanaid...Once again thank you.

Find Out More About How We Support People Living With Disabilities

Mohammad Ismail's story

70-year-old Mohammad Ismail lives with his wife and ten children in a remote village nestled in the central highlands of Afghanistan. A resilient and caring father, his life has been characterised by many challenges, including the physical disabilities he navigates each day. Blind in one eye, deaf, and unable to walk unaided for long, Mohammad Ismail struggles to find accessible employment opportunities for him in the remote, mountainous area he resides. However, in part due to increasing rollbacks on women's ability to work and travel, he bears responsibility for generating an income to feed his family.

He told us how difficult the pressure to provide the necessities his family requires has been: “We are really in bad condition, as well as facing hunger, two of my children are sick, and I don’t have money to pay for the treatment, as I am unable to work...The winter weather is getting to be stronger day by day, we don’t have woods to burn, and the children don’t have warm clothes.”

Recent data from OCHA highlights how households with a member living with a disability are more negatively impacted by the ongoing humanitarian crisis: facing 25% higher levels of debt, and more reliant on unsustainable coping strategies to make ends meet. In winter months, these vulnerabilities become even greater. Opportunities to earn an income are even sparser, and vital links to hospitals and other community infrastructure are cut off by heavy snow. 

When Afghanaid visited Mohammad Ismail's village, he immediately notified the team of the challenges he was facing, and was enrolled in an assistance project. 

“Afghanaid gave me 10,600 AFGs, which will help us get through the winter season. After receiving this cash, I feel more relaxed and happy.” 

Now able to afford the medicine his children need, as well as vital food and heating supplies for the winter, Mohammad Ismail and his family are healthier and happier, and can begin to recover and rebuild when spring comes.

I appreciate Afghanaid and its assistance, they have given my family hope.

The benefits of unconditional cash assistance

When families face a multitude of compounding challenges, cash assistance allows them to autonomously tackle their most pressing needs, and increases the overall effectiveness of emergency aid delivery. By recognising that families know how best to meet their needs, cash assistance safeguards households' dignity and ensures they play central roles in shaping their futures.

Cash assistance also enables families to invest back into their communities and stimulate their local economies, supporting the livelihoods of local farmers and small businesses in their villages. When communities are bolstered by these purchases, employment opportunities arise and food security improves.

Crucially, when people living with disabilities are unable to work, this flexible economic support also provides a pathway to accessing lifesaving medicines, as well as basic necessities like food and heating supplies. For Musafa and Mohammad Ismail, this ensured they were able to purchase medicines and heating equipment that their families required, keeping them healthy despite the difficult winter ahead. 

Help us support many more people living with disabilities

Your donations directly fuel the cash assistance provided to families like Mohammad Ismail's and Musafa's. Thanks to your support, we were able to reach over 1.5 million people through our projects last year. With you by our side, we could reach even more this year: 

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