Green Shoots of Recovery

Ten-year-old Zarif tends his fields, which he irrigates using assistance from USAID.
Ten-year-old Zarif tends his fields, which he irrigates using assistance from USAID.
A boy’s father and brother were killed in separate incidents
Roadside bombs not only cause serious problems for international military forces, but result in hundreds of civilian deaths and injuries each year. One of these bombs killed ten-year-old Zarif’s father when fighting erupted between the Taliban and the international military forces. Only months before, his younger brother had died in a Taliban attack. The deaths of his brother and father were bitter emotional blows for the family and the loss of his father spelled severe financial hardship. For families living on the margin, the loss or injury to a breadwinner can plunge them into desperate circumstances.
“When my brother died, my family was full of grief. Then my father died and my family faced lot of problems. I was the oldest male child in my family, but even though I am still a boy, I had to take on many family responsibilities. Life was very tough for us but my life changed when we received USAID assistance,” said Zarif.
USAID provided Zarif’s family with livestock, a water pump, and kits containing household items, agricultural implements, and children’s educational materials. The assistance saved the family from destitution, transforming their lives so that they could work together to generate a sustainable income.
Zarif and his uncle use the water pump to irrigate small crops of wheat, barley, corn, and vegetables. He sells surplus produce in the bazaar. He also grows alfalfa to feed the cows. His mother makes yogurt from the cows’ milk to sell at the bazaar.
“Before this help, the land was dry and I couldn’t grow anything,” Zarif added. “Now my lands are green and I get a very good income from the produce we sell. I have a good business and all of my brothers and sisters can afford to go to school.”
Through its assistance project, USAID has assisted more than 9,600 families across the country.

Last updated: January 12, 2015

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