Transforming Lives

Every day, all over the world, USAID brings peace to those who endure violence, health to those who struggle with sickness, and prosperity to those who live in poverty. It is these individuals — these uncounted thousands of lives — that are the true measure of USAID’s successes and the true face of USAID's programs.

Demrasi’s problems were hardly unique. Like other villages in Kandahar’s Panjwai district, it was stuck in a cycle of woe that went from drought to deluge and back again. For more than a decade, Demrasi struggled to grow food. The crops withered without adequate irrigation even as years of flooding laid waste to the fields. Slowly, Demrasi’s impoverished farmers started to leave in search of work in nearby cities and towns. The 150 households in the village often went to bed hungry.

When the Afghanistan Rural Finance Company’s clients asked for Islamic loans, its president and CEO turned to USAID for help. Hashmat Amarkhail knew what his clients wanted - murabaha or financing compliant with sharia, which shares profit and loss between borrower and lender. But he didn’t know how the Company could provide it.

Maliha Nasrat was playing in the yard at home in Kabul when she was hit by a stray bullet. The seven-year-old had become yet another casualty of the civil war that raged in Afghanistan in the 1990s.

“Hashar”, which means collaboration, is a common word in Qalat in southern Afghanistan, but the city’s residents did not understand its transformative power till their first clean-up day.

When financially hard times fell on his family of 10, Cristian Alonso Chávez, from Mexico's Francisco I. Madero neighborhood in  Ciudad Juarez, had to leave school to look for work, discontinuing his education after middle school.
 
Although Chávez, 22, had almost three years of experience as an industrial machine operator, his most recent job did not offer him any opportunities for advancement. When he tried to find new work, his low level of education and the pressing need for income always led him back to the operator job.
 
On a sunny day in December 2012, Judge Ana María Elías-González walked into a Baja California state courtroom to give the final reading of a 35-year prison sentence she handed to a man a few days previously for the murder of his girlfriend.
 

Chaghcharan, Farah, Herat and Qala-e-Naw municipalities in western Afghanistan are changing – and they’re changing for the better. They’re training their staff and modernizing their systems in an attempt to improve responsiveness to the people’s needs with support from USAID’s Regional Afghan Municipalities Program for Urban Populations West.

The body needs food to grow but the soul needs art to move on, says Sughra Husseini, remembering how sad and dispirited she felt when both her parents died. She worked through her grief by applying to study calligraphy and miniature painting at the Turquoise Mountain Institute for Afghan Arts and Architecture in Kabul. Sughra’s older brother supported her artistic aspirations. Today, she is regarded as one of Afghanistan’s rising young artists.

Kubura Sulemana is a store keeper for the Africa Indoor Residual Spraying project in northern Ghana. The project protects millions of people in Africa from malaria by spraying insecticide on the walls, ceilings and other indoor resting places of mosquitoes that transmit malaria. Here, Sulemana tells her story:

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Last updated: January 16, 2015