With the help of ORCD, we’re laying down the foundation for a bright future, free of poverty, for thousands of people in Afghanistan. There is still so much work to do here but with your support, we can keep delivering life-saving aid to those in need.
Afghanistan and the people who live here are faced with the terrifying reality of ongoing conflict, poverty, displacement and disaster every day. Around 9.4 million people are in dire need of humanitarian assistance, with 54% of them being children. Living conditions for the Afghan people are incredibly difficult, as years of conflict and tragedy have made it challenging to access even their most basic needs.
3.7 million children are out of school – 60% of them being girls – and only 27% of people out of a population of 37 million have access to clean water, 12.5 million are food insecure, and there are over 1 million internally displaced people throughout the country. The United Nations has deemed Afghanistan “the scene of the deadliest conflict on earth”, which, day by day, continues to threaten the well-being and survival of those who reside there.
Penny Appeal has teamed up with the Organisation for Research and Community Development (ORCD) to deliver vital humanitarian aid to impoverished communities in Afghanistan that have been made to suffer through no fault of their own. We started our partnership with the Feed Our World project and over the years, we have delivered nutritious food packs to thousands of IDP families. Now, we’re working with ORCD to provide even more support for the people of Afghanistan through projects like Hifz Orphan, Education First, Thirst Relief and The Mosque Project.
A Good Foundation for a Bright Future
We spoke with Arif Khan, ORCD’s Country Manager, about what areas need the most attention from ORCD, Penny Appeal and other humanitarian organisations that are looking to help lay down the groundwork for breaking the vicious cycle of poverty in Afghanistan.
Arif told us:
Afghanistan has been a war-torn country for more than four decades. It is in need of assistance in many ways and many areas. Every penny is highly appreciated in Afghanistan. There is need on many levels but to narrow it down; WASH, economic empowerment, education, human capital and capacity building, and healthcare – those are the key areas that need [support] and development.”
Through our partnership and the projects we’ve launched in Afghanistan, we’re aiming to set up a sturdy foundation for impoverished Afghans and provide them with everything they need to build successful and self-reliant futures. In order to change lives forever, we need to save lives first; with a focus on nutritious food, clean water, quality education and Islamic guidance, Penny Appeal and ORCD are delivering essential aid to those who need it most.
Our New Projects in Afghanistan
After decades of war, Afghanistan has limited resources when it comes to orphan care. Orphaned children are by and large a segment of the population that has been ignored in favour of more urgent matters, but that just makes their situation that much more dire.
Many orphaned children have lost their fathers due to conflict and are now left unprotected from exploitation by political or religious groups. Many of these vulnerable children are also at risk from human traffickers, crime syndicates, prostitution and child begging rings as well.
When we got onto the topic of our Hifz Oprhan project, Arif let us know how important this project was for the orphaned children of Afghanistan. He said:
There is a tangible need for orphan projects. This is a segment of the population that has been ignored. It is a very bad situation for these young people. Afghanistan has been in conflict for years, so the number of orphans are growing…The problem is [orphans] lack very basic means, life-saving means. With a little attention, they could have a more situated life and be leaders in the future.”
Afghanistan has a need for supportive, educational institutions that give orphaned children the care and relgious guidance they need to build futures free from poverty. With ORCD, our Hifz Orphan project is providing poor children with a safe place to learn and grow, where they can become the leaders of tomorrow.
Click here to learn more about the Hifz Orphan project!
As part of our Education First appeal, we’re renovating two girls’ schools near Kabul and Sharana. Education is so important, especially for young girls, but it is a severely underfunded sector in Afghanistan. Many schools throughout the country have been struggling to educate their students due to a lack of qualified teachers, textbooks, supplies, and safe, sturdy educational facilities.
The lack of proper schools has particularly affected those living in rural areas of the country. Children who don’t feel safe and satisfied, don’t want to go to school, so we hope that in building better facilities for them, we can get these students excited about their educations again.
“Any investment in education is valuable and very important in Afghanistan. The education sector in Afghanistan is struggling,” says Arif, “but we will see a rise in enrolment [in these schools]; some students wouldn’t go to the schools before because they said they had to sit under tree shade or out in the sunlight to study, but when we asked if they would come if we made repairs to their school, they said yes of course!”
We’ve set out to make sure these girls are getting the educations they deserve in a comfortable, safe environment by making the essential renovations each of these schools needs to support their learning.
Click here to learn more about the Education First program!
The Mosque Project
Afghanistan is a primarily Islamic country, with 99% of the population being Muslim. Islam plays a crucial role in the daily lives of Afghan people, helping guide them spiritually and morally, but throughout the country, there is a high demand for new mosques to be built.
“Mosques play a key role here,” Arif tells us, “Mosques are the place people congregate for religious rituals but in Afghanistan, mosques play a key role in community development, community empowerment. All those people who come to congregate and offer prayers, they can get together and set a good plan for their community. Mosques build brotherhood.”
A mosque is a place of great worship, where Islamic education can take place, where people can gather for prayer and celebration, and where the community can come together to strengthen their ties. Together with ORCD, Penny Appeal is working to build three new mosques in areas that are lacking. These new mosques will stand beautifully as the heart of their communities, offering all who enter the strength they need to carry on.
Click here to learn more about the Build a Mosque program!
As part of our Thirst Relief project, we’re now building Solar Panel Water and Power Centres in Afghanistan. These innovative structures have the capacity to provide clean water to around 2,500 people and livestock, while also supplying electricity and power to the community. Our Solar Panel Water and Power Centres give people regular access to a source of clean water they can rely on, and eliminates a lot of the hassle that comes with water collection in desert areas.
Currently, we’re working on constructing a Solar Panel Water and Power Centre in the Baghlan Province for a village of 2,100 people. This area experiences a severe drought every few years, and as a result, famine and poverty are very commonplace throughout the province. The handpump wells in this area don’t have the capacity to provide water for the entire village so many people have to draw their water from a murky nearby river, which is extremely unsafe.
Once our Solar Panel Water and Power Centre is complete, no one in this village will have to worry about drinking dirty water again. They’ll have unlimited access to freshwater, Alhamdulillah.
Our first Solar Panel Water and Power Centre in Kabul was a great success, providing a village of 500 with clean water and green energy. With such amazing results in Kabul, Arif has high hopes for the outcome of this current project in Baghlan. He said,
“The project in Kabul, people were very happy with it. Their lives are different now. One little girl there used to fetch water and bring it home from 1 kilometre, but now she has more time [for school and other activities]. An elder there said now he doesn’t have to spend as much money [on healthcare] for his kids and family because of waterborne diseases, instead, he can put it towards other purposes for them. More people are coming into the area now that we have the project here to settle, like returnee refugees. It’s a life-saving project in terms of thirst relief and WASH.”
Click here to learn more about the Thirst Relief program!
With the help of ORCD, we’re laying down the foundation for a bright future, free of poverty, for thousands of people in Afghanistan. There is still so much work to do here but with your support, we can keep delivering life-saving aid to those in need. If you’d like to make a donation to keep our work in Afghanistan going, visit the Penny Appeal website to show some love and support to the people of Afghanistan.
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Morgan is a Copywriter for the non-profit organization Penny Appeal. She is a writer by trade and a reader at heart, always on the lookout for a moving story. Morgan is on a mission to stamp out the noise and write about truth.