News & Stories Stories Working together to turn barren hillsides green In Haji Nasruldeen’s village, we've been supporting farmers to tackle the compounding impacts of the climate crisis and COVID-19, by helping them to set up and manage their own orchards, tend to saplings planted on nearby terraced hillsides, and cultivate home vegetable gardens. The hundreds and thousands of trees and plants they grow are helping to keep land fertile, absorb carbon dioxide, and tackle rising hunger and poverty in the wake of COVID-19. I feel hopeful for the future. My family is safe, I have almond trees, strong livestock and crops, so I can make sure my children are healthy and buy them the supplies they need to get an education. Haji Nasruldeen's story “In the past, things were not easy. People in our village faced a lot of challenges but we didn’t know how to make things better. We struggled to feed our families, and I could not afford to buy my children school supplies. We relied on agriculture for food, but our hillsides were steep and barren and the soil in our land was seriously damaged, so we couldn’t really grow much. What we did manage to grow, often got washed away by floods, along with our homes, schools and roads. In more recent years, drought also caused a shortage of water, and many of us spent all of our money and took out loans to dig our wells deeper to reach more water. We were really struggling. Then, Afghanaid came to our village and offered us the opportunity to take part in training courses in updated agriculture techniques. We learned about crop cultivation and orchard management, and they provided us with the seeds, saplings and tools we needed to get going. With Afghanaid’s help, I also learned how to set up and run a small business of my own. I established an almond orchard and learned how to make sure it provided a sustainable income for my family. I worked hard and day-by-day our situation started to change. I sold some of my land and used the money to build a very good house for my family to live in. In 2017 a big flood hit our village. The water damaged our land and house, and ruined all of our furniture and belongings. I had to use all the money I had at the time to repair our home. When COVID-19 and lockdown came to the country, our economic situation got even worse, and we were struggling to find food. I worried about what would happen if another flood or drought came. Afghanaid set up a Watershed Management Committee to help us to protect ourselves from floods, and store water for us to use in the village. Through this committee, Afghanaid employed me and others to construct walls to protect our homes and land from floods, terrace the hillsides, and build an irrigation system for the whole community to use. My wife, Bibi Zalikha, took part in one of Afghanaid’s training courses alongside other women, learning how to look after saplings. Afghanaid then bought the saplings back off them, and employed other members of the village to plant them in our newly terraced hillside. Using the money we earned, my wife and I purchased sheep and a cow for our family. I also planted barley seed in my terraced land, and using my new skills I hope to have a good harvest this year. Now everything is changed. Bibi Zalikha and I work together to support each other and our family. We are happy and I feel hopeful for the future. My family is safe, I have almond trees, livestock and crops, so I can make sure my children are healthy and buy them the supplies they need to get an education, so they can have a better life. I am saving some money and I hope to be able to send Tamin, my oldest son, to Kabul to study at university. Our whole village has also become greener and beautiful. None of this would have happened without the support of Afghanaid and we are so grateful.” How can you help? We need your help to reach more people like Haji Nasruldeen. With just a bit of support, we can ensure families make it through this difficult time and build their resilience to future crises. Amidst great uncertainty, approximately six times the number of people in Afghanistan are in need of humanitarian assistance in 2021 as compared to four years ago, and the number of people in need has almost doubled in the past year alone. Together, we can make a real difference to these people. We are so grateful for any help you can provide to lend a helping hand to those less fortunate. A gift from you today, no matter how small or large, will help a vulnerable family in Afghanistan to put food on the table and plant the seeds of a more prosperous future. Find out more about this work Please select a donation amount (required) £58 provides training, tools and seeds for a group of 4 women to set up their own vegetable gardens. £28 delivers the training, tools and saplings a farmer needs to get their orchard going and earn an income to support their family. £16 plants an orchard of nut trees for one farmer, providing a vital source of food for their family. Other Set up a regular payment Donate Did you like this post? Subscribe to our newsletter to receive stories like this every month.