In recent years, our headlines have been dominated by tragic stories of refugees from around the world; but there are some whose plight is less well known. In 2017, some 780,000 Afghan refugees living in Pakistan were forced to leave their homes and return to Afghanistan, to communities already struggling with conflict and poverty. Throughout 2018, still more men, women and children have been forced to return to impoverished conditions and the situation for many is desperate.

Last year Afghanaid launched a three-year project to support returning refugee families, and the local communities, as they reintegrate into these communities and establish new, secure lives back in Afghanistan.

Why they need our help

Refugees are among the most vulnerable people in the world. Not only have they lost the daily security that most of us take for granted, but the loss of a permanent place to call home robs individuals of the capacity to live independent and productive lives. Many of the refugees now returning to Afghanistan were born and raised in Pakistan, it is the only home they've ever known. That is why we have drawn on our 34 years' experience in Afghanistan to design a project that will target the needs of these struggling displaced families and help them re-establish their lives and live in dignity.

Our Response

Afghanaid has launched a three-year project which targets families who are either returning refugees or who have been displaced internally due to conflict. Coming to live in a new place with little education, limited employable skills and few friends or local contacts, the men, women and youth from these families have very few job opportunities. Indeed, in a recent survey we found that 88% of undocumented returning refugees living in Logar and Nangarhar are without the means to provide their families with the food they need. We will provide members of these families with the basic literacy training they need to get started.

Following this, we will train members of these families in home-based vocational skills, enterprise development and marketing. We are providing them with the tools and equipment they need to set up home-based businesses and support them to establish links to markets. Lastly, we will help them to form savings groups with other community members so that they can access credit to grow their businesses or weather a crisis.


By participating in the project activities together, the newly settled family memebers will also be able to form relationships with one another. This will deepen their sense of belonging and help to build associations, support networks and social links within their new communities.

Empowering women to transform communities

Studies show that, when given the opportunity to earn a living, mothers typically spend most of their income on improving their families' health and education. This means that when we invest in mothers, we are investing in the future. With a bit of support, women have the power to lift their families, and eventually whole communities, out of poverty.

We will, of course, also be working with male members of these displaced families; providing them with basic literacy training, providing them with information about how they can access local services and giving them legal advice.

For host communities that are already struggling, the addition of so many refugee families returning from Pakistan strains resources and relations. That is why Afghanaid also works with the poorer members of the host community to relieve the tension; finding ways for people to learn from one another and work together rather than competing for the same, already scarce, resources.

Help vulnerable displaced families.

Read more about how we respond in emergency situations.