Mohammad still thinks about the life he left behind in the Bamyan province of Afghanistan, where he lived with his wife, children and parents.
The father of six worked as a labourer and was the sole breadwinner for his family. But when the COVID-19 pandemic began, Mohammad lost many work opportunities in his hometown. As a result, he was forced to move his entire family to a new village in hopes of finding employment.
On the journey, both Mohammad and his father became seriously injured by a nearby rocket blast. “My father lost the eyesight from his left eye, while my right knee was severely injured. Even now, my knee hurts when I stand for too long and the pain intensifies in the winters,” shares Mohammad. “My mother is [also] old and not too well,” he adds.
Despite the physical pain he was experiencing, Mohammad sought out opportunities that would help him provide for his family through the harsh winter.
“Sometimes, I go to the greenhouse to fix the plastic-covered walls. I do not get paid for the job. Instead, I get some wood which we use as heating fuel at home to keep ourselves warm. Through this little work, I raise AFN 1700 [CAD 30] at least in the winter each month, which is not enough to meet the needs and expenses of my family,” he explains.
In response to the devastating effects of COVID-19, PWS&D, through Canadian Foodgrains Bank, recently concluded a food assistance project in Afghanistan. PWS&D’s local partner, Community World Service Asia, distributed five monthly cash allowances to vulnerable households—the funds allowed families to purchase much-needed food and essential items.
Mohammad and his family were one of the 1,100 households that received support. “I was able to buy food items such as rice, pulses, oil, fruits and meat for our family. My wife was delighted to see the groceries as she finally had wholesome food to cook and put on the table for our children for at least a month. I also rushed to the pharmacy and bought medicines for my unwell mother,” describes Mohammad.
Additionally, the family made sure to stock up on food and medicines to help them through the rest of the winter and the pandemic.
Reflecting on the support he and his family received, Mohammad expresses his gratitude, “I am grateful to be part of the project. This assistance has brought relief in my life.”
*This project received support from Canadian Foodgrains Bank. PWS&D is a member of the Foodgrains Bank, a partnership of 15 churches and church agencies working together to end global hunger. This project was undertaken with generous support from the Government of Canada.