Despite the improved conditions within Afghanistan in recent years, decades of turmoil have left the nation in disarray. In an effort to address needs and shortfalls within the nation, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have partnered with local organizations to provide assistance and much-needed services to the residents of Afghanistan.
As a result, the country has seen an improvement in the daily lives of many, but the situation is still far from ideal. Thousands of individuals are classified as “at-risk,” a designation that indicates the extreme levels of poverty that still exist.
The at-risk groups include women, children, widows, and other displaced groups of people who face an uncertain future. Fortunately, NGOs such as Afghanaid are working to provide hope and help.
The History of Afghanaid
Afghanaid began in 1983 as an outreach of the Afghanistan Support Committee work in London. After two years of working closely with Afghans, the charity became its own entity and went to work in earnest. Since its inception, it has worked in nearly every province within the country and provided services to over 1 million Afghans.
The earliest years of Afghanaid’s existence were spent addressing war-relief efforts. As war escalated in the early 1990s, Afghanaid was on hand to offer support and assistance to survivors in the aftermath of conflict.
The loss of food production sites and a breakdown in distribution lines created a food shortage that left thousands hungry. Volunteers from Afghanaid entered the country, finding families and providing food for over 70,000 people during the famine.
In addition, the country’s damaged infrasture, ambulance and other rescue personnel had a difficult time navigating the streets to bring medical relief to injured and sick persons. Afghanaid worked to raise funds for supplies and other medical necessities that helped decrease the number of casualties. In a few short years, however, Afghanid transitioned from war relief to helping people rebuild their lives.
Establishing vocational training programs, such as the tailoring project, provided sustainable work and training for displaced farmers who needed ways to provide for their families. As part of the tailoring project, participants were provided with training and equipment to establish businesses that made school uniforms for children.
Other vocational efforts included beekeeping, kitchen gardens, and more. Through training and mentorship, participants in the program learn business skills, develop group lending policies, and offer financial support to others in the program. Self-sustaining programs such as these are essential to the rebuilding of Afghanistan and allow individuals within the community to develop viable business skills.
More than 20 years after its work began, Afghanaid is still a powerful source of support and resources to the people of Afghanistan. The programs that were initiated during the war have been expanded to encompass additional areas of concern and concentrate financial efforts in the areas most in need of help.
The organization identifies vulnerable households in need of financial assistance and support and provides them with a voice in their own development. In this way, it is giving Afghans inspiration to work towards a brighter future, and encouraging others to participate in the rebuilding process and work towards a brighter future.
It concentrates its aid programs on four primary areas of concern:
- Basic support
- Improving job security
- Emergency response
- Disaster relief
The organization’s goal is a peaceful, thriving Afghanistan, and it is working to ensure that all Afghans are able to enjoy the benefits that result from peace. To support that mission, it has an overreaching theme of gender rights and governance that are underscored in every aspect of aid it offers.
By supporting local governance, Afghanaid encourages all citizens of Afghanistan to get involved in local institutions and politics. It has introduced community-based concepts such as community monitoring, social audits, and assemblies.
These efforts help to develop links between the local community and district authorities. In addition, by strengthening individuals, family units become stronger, which in turn helps to build communities.
Strong communities lead to improved relationships with other communities, and the entire nation benefits. When seen as part of a larger whole, every individual who receives assistance from Afghanaid has a role to play – both today and in the future.
Groups like Afghanaid are essential to the future of Afghanistan. With its 30-year track record in the country, it has established itself as a reliable means of support and assistance, and is a trusted component of the rebuilding taking place in the nation.