Dastarkhwan-e-Meli

The story of Sakina, showing the need for a long-term relief

The Government of Afghanistan has started relief distribution in response to the Covid-19 crises to help the needed and poor households in communities in the cities and villages throughout Afghanistan. This relief response has recently started for the households who are falling at the lower end of the economic scale.

The delivery of relief packages will be expedited and delivered to those households who needs much more help in the months ahead under the REACH program. The program is designed in such a way that the relief packages takes place directly by the citizens through the community development councils (CDCs).

This story showcasing the value embedded in providing relief packages to the much needed and poor households. In the Solah Development Council which is located in district 15 of Herat city, when the distribution was taking place, one of our relief workers has narrated the story of Bibi Sakina.

Bibi Sakina after receiving relief package was relieved and happy. To her surprise, she was benefiting for the first time by knocking her door.

“This is my first time I am getting a relief package because I haven’t received any support in a form of cash or food from the Government or any other humanitarian organization. Even I didn’t benefit from the national bread distribution program of the Government”, She said.

Being an 80 years’ old lady and stricken due to a brain stroke, one can easily recognise her situation as she can hardly walk now. Her husband, Baba Hassan who is 75 years old is suffering from diabetes. He is unable to work either, therefore, they live with her daughter, Nargis who is a mother of two children. She is working for a private school as a teacher in return for AFN 40, 00. She takes care of her parents and her kids with this monthly income.

Bibi Sakina further narrates her story and says,

“At the peak of the corona virus, my husband, Hassan got inflicted with the corona virus and we admitted him to the Covid -19 Shaidayee hospital for 18 days”.

Her daughter, Nargis had no option left but to take a loan for his treatment. She is still in debt of AFN. 20,000 which she has to pay back. The relief package has accommodated some of her urgent needs, but it has not ended her problems all at once. It is significant from her talks, as she says,

“It was very hard to buy a rice bag of 25 kg and the cooking oil. It has resolved parts of our problems, however, as my feet is always in pain, I am using warm water by putting down a bunch of hot plastic bottles under my blanket. I have no fuel or woods to warm my room therefore, I have no options left but to put the hot bottles beneath my foot”.

Her daughter, Nargis has shown her joy for the support. She willingly acknowledges the donation from the COVID Relief Effort for Afghan Communities and Households program but she asks the government and non-government organisations to extend their support to the downtrodden and poor households. It means a lot to them to live and sustain their lives with it.

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