This past year, a severe drought resulting from climate change struck Afghanistan, displacing 2.4 million people who left their homes in search for food and water after fields dried up and crops and livestock died. Yet those same families are now living it tents, left to brave freezing winter temperatures. Read more about the stories of real individuals affected by this crisis, who were met by Islamic Relief USA staff who travelled to Afghanistan to give support.
Meet Rabbani, 30 years old, father of six
Rabbani and his family are farmers and livestock owners. This village they are in has been wiped out by drought. Most of the residents left and are now either in displacement camps or attempting to move to the city. This village is very difficult to access. It’s in the mountains where there are no real roads to get there, just a dirt path through the desert. In these pictures, Rabbani stands in his family’s livestock yard, which is now barren but was full last year. He also has fields that are now dried up, though once filled with wheat, watermelon, cantaloupe, barley, and flax seed. Now, not a single crop grows.
Meet Mohammad Ayyub, 57 years old, father of 9
When our staff met Mohammed, he shared, “Everyone is asking for food…kids are not going to school. When it rains, they’re simply sitting in the mud. The winds are brutal…we have no access to healthcare.”
Some of his children appear behind him in the picture. The displacement camp they now live in is a desert valley outside of main cities—that’s the only place they can afford. It’s brutally cold with a constant chill wind coming through. Many of the people only eat once every three or four days. Mohammad has severe asthma, and was continually wheezing while talking to IRUSA staff. The cold air, he said, was especially tough on his lungs. He constantly suffers from shortness of breath. He tries to help find food, but he’s socially responsible for 35 families to try and feed them. His son, Noorkhan (behind him on the right with the green and red turban) shared with IRUSA staff about the challenge of finding day labor in the city. He has to walk two hours one way to the city to try and find work, yet he has gone 10 days without finding a single day job. Other times, he’s worked all day for only $1 (70 afghanis). A bottle of water costs about 50 afghanis.
Meet a young orphan, age unknown
This young girl is now an orphan: both of her parents were killed in war. After this deep tragedy, her village was hit by the drought. She now lives in this tent with the women pictured beside her. All three of the women’s husbands were killed in war as well, making them widows. The story of one devastation after another is heartbreaking, but all to common for so many individuals in Afghanistan who are braving challenges that they have no other choice but to endure. When you give to IRUSA, you directly affect the lives of so many individuals just like this young woman.
Meet Muhammad Daud, camp leader, father of 10
Muhammad is the leader of the displacement camp in which he now lives. He is the proud father of 10 kids, and his only desire and request is food for his people to eat. Or, perhaps, a doctor to help them with their many medical needs. His selfless concern for the others around him, even amid his own suffering, is a remarkable symbol of human dignity and beauty. Almost everyone in his camp battles some kind of illness from living outdoors in the freezing cold.
Meet Asifa, Zamira, and Aziza, ages 45, 47, and 35 (respectively)
These three women shared gratefulness and happiness with IRUSA staff about their ability to be in a class that teaches them how to read and write—a luxury in many parts of the earth. These women, all mothers, beamed about the fact that they can now aid with own children with their homework, and make their way around town and hospitals because of their newfound literacy. They also get to see each other during class, a wonderful opportunity to socialize. Simply put, the IRUSA program that they are in because of ongoing donations by donors like you, are transforming their lives.
Meet Fareba, 24 years old, business woman
Fareba is excited to be enrolled in a sewing program funded by Islamic Relief USA. She’s now is going to proudly help her family by getting a job and bringing income to her household, which will transform her entire family’s economic status. Fareba is a true role model for so many because of her commitment, pride, and newfound hope as a business woman in her family.
Meet Masuma and Marwa, 6 and 3 years old, beautiful sisters
Masuma and Marwa are sisters, and orphans. Masuma, in the red dress, is a proud and kind big sister to Marwa, also pictured. Their father passed away suddenly from an illness three years ago, leaving them almost entirely vulnerable. Thankfully, they are sponored by a generous Islamic Relief USA donor. Without the IRUSA sponsorship, they would have no income in their family, and would be left to the consequences of poverty. Their grandmother, Parigul, also pictured, is a beneficiary of the health support for orphaned families program. This Islamic Relief program gives healthcare access orphans and their family members. In fact, Parigul was able to get cataract surgery through this program and restore her vision. Before this, she was blind.
Meet Fatima and Mahdi, ages 12 and 10
Fatima and Mahdi are also orphans who are now benefitting from Islamic Relief USA orphan sponsorships. Although it may seem unthinkable, the family used to live in a cave before they were sponsored, with no electricity and even no natural light. They battled one illness after another, and endured scorpions that would come and bite them. Life was beyond difficult. Because of the Islamic Relief USA sponsorship, they’ve now moved into a home. Life has improved dramatically: they’re attending school, have healthcare, and are even proud of their window where they can put a plant that is growing.
This heartwarming story and countless others like it are what is possible with donations made to Islamic Relief USA.