Maryam, a widowed mother of 4 escaped fighting in Afghanistan. Now she can rent a house and buy food

Maryam, a widowed mother of 4 escaped fighting in Afghanistan. Now she can rent a house and buy food

Jul 24, 2017

Conflict between the Afghan army and armed opposition groups forced many families from Paktia province in eastern Afghanistan to flee the districts hit by fierce fighting. Displaced families tried to find refuge in the city of Gardez. This was especially hard for female headed households who received the aid from People in Need through the Emergency Response Mechanism funded by EU.

Maryam Bibi, a widow and a mother of four, was one of them. She was displaced from Ahamd Khail district back in August 2016. "It was very insecure to stay there with children," she says and adds that she was only able to take what she could grab with her hands.

Once she reached Gardez she faced a lot of problems. "There was no shelter and as I have small children it was hard for me to earn income and to feed my family. We had no extra food, we left everything when we ran from our home," she remembers. She asked the hosting community to provide her with tent. "I really appreciate the help but the tent was too small for the whole family and still we didn’t have enough to eat," says Maryam. Maryam couldn’t afford to put her kids through school.

I never thought that someone will help me

"I never thought that someone would help me," says Maryam but through the Emergency Response Mechanism funded by the EU, People in Need was able to support Maryam’s family with 16,000 AFA (approx. 208 Euro). " With the money, I purchased food, equipment, heating material and milk for my small baby", says Maryam.

People in Need was also able to support Maryam and her family with rental assistance for three months which enabled her to move from the tent that could barely fit her family into a house. "I was able to purchase a carpet for my room and now I feel more comfortable, as the house offered us privacy, safety and dignity," says Maryam. "I also have more food and my children can continue their education in Gardez city," she adds and expresses her gratitude for the support.

Fatema is another woman, who escaped the violence in Zurmat district last year and fled to Gardez. The sole breadwinner and single mother of 3 remembers her first moments of displacement: "I left everything in Zurmat and in the beginning we did not have shelter, no relatives to support us and even no food for my children."

Like Maryam she received the tent from the community but struggled with feeding her children and finding a source of income. The assistance from People in Need  through the EU came just in time; for 16,000 AFA Fatema purchased food, basic items and heating material. "It was my big dream to have such big amount of money I have never seen before," says Fatema.

A lot of my problems were solved

Additional cash assistance from People in Need supported the family to rent a house, moving from a tent. "My children are very happy and a lot of my problems were solved," says Fatema.

As the only Emergency Response Mechanism (ERM) actor in Paktia, PIN was the first responder in Gardez city.  The ERM is funded by the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO), and provides timely and coordinated humanitarian assistance to people affected by conflict and natural disasters across Afghanistan. 

Reshad Poya, PIN Afghanistan Communication Officer and Sibghatullah Himat, PIN Gardez ERM Team Leader

Author: Reshad Poya, Sibghatullah Himat