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Beating hunger in Afghanistan

How support is reaching even the most remote regions of Afghanistan and changing the lives of families like Salima’s.

By Rachael Adams | 17 Dec 2020

Salima did everything she could to care for her two young children, but they were getting sicker. The nearest hospital was miles away, and she couldn’t afford transport costs. It was all looking bleak, until help showed up.


Salima* lives in a remote village in Afghanistan’s central highlands. It’s at least an hour-long drive on a dusty mountain road to reach the nearest hospital. And it’s a journey that families like Salima’s cannot afford to make.


‘I knew they were sick because they were very skinny and weren’t eating a lot,’ says Salima. ‘I tried to give them food when I could, but we didn’t have a car to bring them to the doctor. 


‘I didn’t know what was wrong.’ It’s a parent’s worst nightmare.

Salima lives in a remote region in Afghanistan.

Salima lives in a remote region in Afghanistan.

A dangerous sickness

Tearfund’s local partners travel to isolated communities like Salima’s. They come alongside the local villagers and teach them about nutrition and hygiene – important life skills that are saving lives.

When our partner met Salima, they were able to diagnose both of her children’s illnesses. They were suffering from malnutrition. Afghanistan has one of the world’s highest rates of stunting in children under five: 41 per cent. This is where children have a low height for their age, which is usually caused by malnutrition. 

‘When your people came, they explained that this really is a dangerous sickness,’ says Salima.

‘They gave me advice on what to feed them and how much to feed them… they gave me some ingredients like [protein enriched] super-flour... They told me to give the [children] milk, eggs, and greens sometimes. We don’t normally do that for our children, so I started learning.’

Though progress has been slow, Salima’s children, including her youngest daughter her, are now much healthier.

Though progress has been slow, Salima’s children, including her youngest daughter her, are now much healthier.

A brighter future

The team continued to check up on Salima’s two children whenever they visited the community. The oldest daughter got big and strong very quickly and though Salima’s baby girl’s progress was very slow at first, both children are now so much healthier. 

Salima often thinks about what would have happened if our partner hadn’t shown up: ‘I think probably my children would have got pneumonia… They would have had diarrhoea and vomiting.’ 

Thankfully, Salima’s children got the help they needed in time. Salima has also been a part of another course run by the partner – learning things like how to cook nutritious food and the importance of handwashing and clean latrines, meaning the family are less likely to fall sick again.

All of this means that the family can look forward to a brighter future together.

Please pray

Creator God,

Hear our cries for people who are hungry,

Those with empty bellies and where hope has dried up.

Bring your provision Lord – let no one go without.

Bring your comfort Lord – let no one feel alone.

Bring your peace Lord – let no one feel afraid.

Bring your light Lord – let no one be left behind.

Amen.

 

*Name changed to protect identity

Written by

Written by Rachael Adams


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