USAID “Tailored” Assistance Instills Self Reliance

Monday, November 18, 2019
Zahra sews clothes for her clients.

Despite international law, civilians still often pay the price for war. This can be particularly difficult on families when they lose their main breadwinner, affecting the livelihood of the entire family. That’s why USAID has a program specifically to assist Afghans negatively impacted by the conflict.

On August 21, 2018 Mohammad Dawood, father of four children and daily wage laborer for a private construction company lost his life in a terrorist attack. Shortly after Dawood’s death, his family began to sink into poverty as Dawood was the family’s only income earner.

When staff from USAID’s Conflict Mitigation Assistance for Civilians (COMAC) program were informed of the situation, they were able to meet with the family, assess their needs, and provide the mother, Zahra, and her family with immediate assistance to help her provide for her children’s basic needs.

During a livelihood assessment, the team learned that Zahra was skilled in sewing and tailoring clothes, but that she had only used this skill for her family, never to earn a living. Zahra responded positively when asked if she would be interested in sewing professionally if provided with the necessary equipment and resources. The team provided her with a sewing machine, table, and sewing materials. Zahra says, “The tailored assistance package empowered me to take control of my situation”.

Currently, Zahra is supporting her family by sewing clothes for customers in her neighborhood. While the immediate assistance helped her family survive, the assistance package of the sewing machine and materials proved to be an effective means of generating income for Zahra and her family and putting them on a path of self-reliance.

“I have not only gained the confidence to resume my normal life, but also to fill a new role as a breadwinner for my family,” said Zahra.

Last updated: April 18, 2020

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