Badakhshan is a mountainous, remote province of Afghanistan that is notorious for its bitter winters. Masoma* (pictured above), a 28-year-old single mother, lives in a village perched high up in the province’s isolated mountains with her four children.

Masoma’s family has not always lived here. She never planned to leave her home, but when her husband was killed, she had no choice but to take her children in search of safety elsewhere. 

“I came to my brothers, but my brothers are also poor,” Masoma said, “they couldn’t help me.” Searching for shelter, Masoma came across people who had space for the family to stay - the simple mud hut in which they now live is their neighbours kitchen. With nothing to shield the young family from the snow and rain coming through an open window, their only protection was a blanket tied in front of the opening. 

When I came here I was very sad. I was crying day and night and was thinking how to survive this winter. I had no carpet, no blanket, no gas, nothing at all.

It is estimated that over 710,000 people across Afghanistan became internally displaced in 2021, adding to around 5.5 million people already in protracted displacement. Families like Masoma’s were forced to abandon their homes and seek safety as violence dramatically increased and the unprecedented humanitarian crisis took its grip on the country.

Displaced people are among the most vulnerable in the world: not only have they experienced the loss of a permanent place to call home, many also leave behind their personal belongings, employment, and friends or local contacts. This robs individuals of the daily security that most of us take for granted, and leaves them with very few coping strategies in crises. 

Providing essentials to those who need it most

Over the winter, Afghanaid’s teams have been battling against snow and treacherous weather in hilly areas to reach isolated displaced families like Masoma’s with emergency humanitarian assistance.

Thanks to your support, we were able to provide Masoma with an array of vital household essentials such as a solar torch, blankets, and cooking utensils to help her get back on her feet. “Afghanaid came and helped us really well, they gave us blankets, gas, pots, buckets and even glasses,” Masoma said, “it made me and my children happy.”

“I use the gas and blankets so my children are safe and warm this winter," she said proudly. Masoma has used the blankets that we supplied her to make a traditional Afghan Sandali stove. The blessing of a Sandali is that the whole family can sit around it to keep warm, their legs tucked under the blankets that cover the rectangular wooden frame that is placed over the brazier to keep the heat in.

“Before, the children would get sick and I would be very worried because I didn’t have a penny to get them [medical] treatment,” Masoma recalled, “we would sleep in dark and fear in this kitchen... but then [Afghanaid] gave us gas, blankets, dishes, solar panel and other things.” 

I appreciate the work of Afghanaid for providing us with these items.

This winter, we've supported over 3,580 households across Afghanistan with emergency shelter and household kits including heating, cooking, and hygiene equipment. With this help, displaced and vulnerable families like Masoma's have been able to keep themselves warm and clean, preventing increased illness and deaths as a result of exposure to the cold.

Read more about how we've responded to the growing crisis

What's next for families like Masoma's?

Helping families fulfil their basic needs is a crucial first step in helping them rebuild their lives after losing their homes and livelihoods. Come spring, Afghanaid will be working with communities across the country to get agriculture going again after the recent terrible drought, to strengthen their resilience to face future crises, and to once again begin to support themselves.

By setting up a regular gift, no matter how small or large, you will be providing reliable support to displaced families like Masoma's. Your gift will help them make it through difficult times, find security in their new homes and help rebuild their communities:

Set up a regular gift

*Please note: we have changed her name to protect her privacy.

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