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Zakat Foundation of America Partners with UNICEF USA to Help Afghan Refugees

“This winter campaign will save lives. It allows us to warm the most fragile hands, the coldest little feet, and the cracked chubby cheeks of an innocent child suffering through the cold in the camps.”

“This winter campaign will save lives. It allows us to warm the most fragile hands, the coldest little feet, and the cracked chubby cheeks of an innocent child suffering through the cold in the camps.”

Among all the places in our world being faced with deathly cold temperatures, Afghanistan is in dire need this winter.

Nearly 3.5 million Afghan refugees have been driven away from their homes with nowhere to go at a time when frigid temperatures sweep across the fallen nation. We cannot let the fierce cold become deadly for them. 

“On the brink of collapse” is already a popular — and accurate — idiom, and it is constantly being used to describe Afghanistan’s political climate. Through the pandemic, though, this description has been increasingly apt.

For many, there is nowhere else to go. Internally displaced Afghan refugees are huddled in camps and forced to live in flimsy tents with little protection from biting winds, harsh temperatures, and snowfall. With subzero temperatures, refugees — a majority of whom are innocent children — will be forced to survive an extreme winter. 

That is why Zakat Foundation of America is proudly partnering with UNICEF USA to provide expansive winter relief in Afghanistan. Together, both organizations have been on the ground — and in the snow — for nearly 100 years, providing humanitarian aid with dedication and integrity.

As you feel the warmth of your home this winter, remember those with no home and nowhere to go.

Imagine how cold it is in the camps. Innocent Shanaz, age 10, tells UNICEF representatives, “it’s too difficult to live in the camps. It’s so cold.” We can help countless children like Shanaz. It’s not too late. 

Zakat Foundation of America and UNICEF USA are providing blankets, heavy-duty tarps, essential water and sanitation supplies, and full sets of warm winter clothing to those struggling in Afghanistan’s frigid temperatures this winter.

“I did not have winter clothes. Now, I am happy that I received it from UNICEF,” says Najiba, 7. She and her family left Ghor province due to drought and conflict, now she settled in Zymati comp, Qala-e-Naw, Badghis. | UNICEF USA photo

Going into the winter, more than 2.2 million Afghan refugees went to neighboring countries by September this year, according to data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. These refugees are under international protection, which most of their counterparts back home are unable to receive.

In December 2021, the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) estimated Afghanistan would see a rise in people in need of humanitarian assistance from 9.4 million in 2020 to 24.4 million in 2022 (59% of the population), as reported Dec. 16 in a United Kingdom House of Commons briefing.

Harsh weather conditions in conjunction with a largely unmitigated COVID-19 emergency will have dire effects on Afghans throughout the country and Afghan refugees who have already fled it.

Juma Gul (right), 32, and his family huddle under a blanket to stay warm. The blanket, along with tarpaulin and buckets, is part of the winterization kit distributed by UNICEF to keep vulnerable children, mothers and families protected during the harsh Afghan winter. | UNICEF USA photo

This winter, 7 USD gives a quality blanket to keep children warm all winter, and 12 USD provides a family with a heavy-duty tarp for shelter from the frigid wind. You could also send a family of five a winter kit with essential water and sanitation supplies for 34 USD. You could also give a child or adult a full set of winter clothes for 46 USD.

Joining forces this winter with UNICEF USA to help the people of Afghanistan made perfect sense, said Zakat Foundation of America’s Chief Marketing Officer, Amna Mirza. 

“We knew our combined years of service would make an immediate impact on the region’s most vulnerable populations,” Mirza said. “While we’ve been working with UNICEF for over a decade, this partnership is special because it extends our already active food aid and shelter program in Afghanistan. This winter campaign will save lives. It allows us to warm the most fragile hands, the coldest little feet, and the cracked chubby cheeks of an innocent child suffering through the cold in the camps.”

Children living in a tent in the Shaydayee internally displaced camp in Herat Province. “I cannot afford to buy bread and clothes for my children,” said Sher Ahmad, father of these children. Sher Ahmad left his home in the Bala Murghab district of Badghis and came to Herat in hope of finding a job. However, his financial situation remains the same, and he does not know what will happen next. | UNICEF USA photo

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