Farm Animals Give Widows Lifeline

Widows collect their cows and sheep
Widows collect their cows and sheep
USAID program helps widows after their husbands were killed by an IED
Each year hundreds of Afghan women are widowed because of the conflict.  Without the income of male relatives they and their children often face a bleak future.
One afternoon Abdul and two of his sons were killed when their car struck a roadside bomb.  They left behind their wives and seven young children, including four babies.  Insurgents planted the device on a road used frequently by U.S. and coalition military forces.  The incident happened in the Shah Wali Kot District in Kanahar province.
The Afghan Civilian Assistance Program provided the family with basic household goods and food soon after the incident.  The family later received education items, including exercise books and pens, and baby packages, as well as two milking cows and a small flock of sheep.  In conservative areas of Afghanistan it is extremely uncommon for women to work, especially outside the home.  The livestock enables the women to earn a living from their home by selling milk and yogurt.
One of the widows said:  “We had no hope for life and could barely feed our children.  Life was as dark as night.  But when somebody knocked on our door offering to help us it was like a shining summer day for us.  We asked if we could have livestock as this is the perfect business for us because we have some land where the animals can graze.  We keep some of the fresh milk for the family and to make the children strong.  The rest is sold for a profit which allows us to provide for ourselves.”
Since 2007 the Afghan Civilian Assistance Program has helped more than 11,000 families across the country.

Last updated: January 20, 2015

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