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.

For years, Nadir Shah Kot district in eastern Afghanistan was so badly affected by insurgent violence it was off-limits to Afghan government agencies, and crucial irrigation infrastructure and flood barriers fell into disrepair. The district depends on agriculture but the crops withered without adequate irrigation even as years of flooding laid waste to fields.

Five students from a rural Afghan college decided to enter a grueling legal competition but they faced a few problems: 1. The contest was in English, a language they didn’t speak; 2. They didn’t have a coach; and 3. They had to study at night, but without a reliable power supply the lighting often failed, plunging the rooms into blackness.

Despite cloudy skies and chilly weather, crowds of excited children rushed to use Kabul’s newly inaugurated Shirino Park. The park features a playground with brightly colored slides, swings, and other equipment that drew animated chatter from the children and praise from community members attending the opening ceremony.

Một cơn sốt kéo dài đã làm thay đổi cuộc đời của Trịnh Thị Vưởng khi em mới 2 tuổi. Vưởng là con lớn trong một gia đình nông thôn nghèo có năm anh chị em thuộc dân tộc thiểu số Rắc Lây ở tỉnh Bình Thuận. Sau đợt sốt kéo dài, một chân của Vưởng dần dần bị liệt hoàn toàn. Tuổi thơ của Vưởng trôi qua cùng với chiếc nạng gỗ và lúc đầu Vưởng cũng vui vẻ chấp nhận nó với sự hồn nhiên của trẻ thơ. Tuy nhiên, khi Vưởng dần trưởng thành, chiến nạng gỗ đã dần dần trở nên nặng nề.

There’s a reason that Zamarai Kot is locally dubbed ‘Mushkil’. The Dari word means problem and Zamarai Kot village, in Paktika province in southeastern Afghanistan, has long been beset by multiple problems. Damaged irrigation infrastructure has meant low crop yield and the village is in an area affected by insurgent activity.

Kandahar’s residents say their lives have been transformed since the installation of the information service desk in May 2012. Gul Ahmad, who lives in Kandahar City, says, “Before, when I visited the municipal offices, I didn’t know how to process my application and where to submit it. Once, I came to the municipality and submitted an application to register house ownership and I was told to come in after one week. When I returned, my application was lost. 

A long bout with high fever forever altered the course of energetic Trinh Thi Vuong's life at the tender age of two years. The eldest daughter of a poor family with five children from the ethnic minority Rac Lay group in Vietnam's southern province of Binh Thuan, Vuong's left leg became completely paralyzed. She spent her childhood with a wooden crutch, which she accepted as first. But as she grew up, the crutch gradually became a heavy burden for Vuong.


When Qani Abdi Alin and her two friends bought their first sewing machine in 2009, none of them knew how to sew. They paid $160 for an instruction book and peered at the diagrams since the instructions were not in Somali or English. The tailoring business in Somaliland is dominated by men, but Alin and her colleagues saw an opportunity. “We identified a market for certain women’s clothing,” says Alin. “We thought ‘Why do we have to look for a job? Why can’t we generate our own employment?’”

Bringing people and services under one roof is paying off for people living with HIV/AIDS in Ho Chi Minh City and other cities around Vietnam. In December 2011, USAID/Vietnam began working with the Ho Chi Minh City Provincial AIDS Committee and District 8 Preventive Medicine Center to integrate anti-retroviral treatment (ART), HIV testing and counseling (HTC), and methadone maintenance therapy (MMT) outpatient clinics.


Last updated: January 20, 2015