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.

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.

For decades, there was no established free press in Burma, and all forms of mass communication were strictly controlled by the military government. Today, as a result of reforms introduced in recent years, the news can go wherever wireless signals can, and aspiring journalists, especially women, are increasingly interested in embracing the latest forms of communication. Yangon Press International (YPI) is an independent Rangoon-based media outlet established in mid-2011 by five Internews-trained journalists, with support from USAID. Using Facebook as their mode of disseminating news, the journalists have begun to garner regular audiences.

“The road was in terrible condition and I couldn’t get to the bazaar without falling over,” recalls Abdul Malik. He is wheelchair-bound – the result of an insurgent bomb attack four years ago – and until recently, he found it hard to make his way from home to the tiny shop he rents in Arghandab in Afghanistan’s southern province of Kandahar.

When Abdul Ahmad left Pakistan for Afghanistan it symbolized more than one man’s decision to come home. It marked the return of a generation of farmers who had left Tani district in the eastern province of Khost because their lands were too dry for crops to grow. “For years I worked in Pakistan because we had no water for our farmland. We are all farmers in my village,” says Abdul Ahmad.

In the early morning hours of Dec. 13, 2012, Somali youth sprinted across Hargeisa, taking part in the Hargeisa Youth Amazing Race. The contest raised awareness about youth-related services and youth-managed businesses across Hargeisa.

Muna Mohamed, a competitor and biomedical student at the University of Hargeisa, expressed what appeared to be the prevailing sentiment: “I am so excited. I am very thrilled.”

Fatumo Jama Ahmed is a 30-year-old mother of two who lives in Berbera, Somaliland.

Ahmed did not go to school when she was young because, like many Somali girls, she was kept at home. Now, however, she is attending a USAID-supported basic education class, her son by her side.

“I have been studying at this center for one month,” she says. “I am now a completely different person … . I can write my name, I can write and read the Somali numbers and alphabets. After a few months I hope to be fully writing and reading and calculating.”


Last updated: December 31, 2014