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How to end poverty and hunger in Afghanistan?

How to end poverty and hunger in Afghanistan is a question that has remained unsolved for decades in the country. Afghanistan is a rich country with $4 trillion in natural resources that have not been extracted. Decades of war and unstable politics have led the people of Afghanistan into turmoil. However, many INGOs and NGOs are working on the ground to support the Afghan people from poverty and hunger, but this is not sufficient. A concrete base strategy has to be established for the long term to end poverty and hunger in Afghanistan.

As an individual, we can play a solid role in stopping poverty and hunger in Afghanistan. Because in order to bring change, we must must do and start it from ourselves. If we all do a commitment and promise ourselves to bring changes in our daily lives, there are so many small things for implementation and simple ways to help prevent poverty. The smallest behavioral changes and financial contributions make all the difference to someone in need.

  • We must avoid wasting food and stop spending unnecessarily. 
  • We must feel accountable of everything we do.
  • We must pay our Zakats annually and give Sadaqah
  • We should sponsor a needy family and/or sponsor at least a child or an orphan child
  • We should donate our extra items such as clothes to those in need

Poverty and hunger statistics in Afghanistan

Poverty and hunger have been affecting Afghanistan for decades and now have reached record levels. The most common causes of poverty and hunger in the country are due to economic crisis, decades of conflicts, and drought. This has destroyed the country’s economic growth, limiting opportunities and making poverty worse. According to WFP, around 19M afghans are facing crisis levels of hunger (almost half of the population is now in need of emergency food assistance and lives below the poverty line), 6M are on the brink of starvation and 20K are already facing hunger.

With the growing poverty level, around 70 percent of families are not capable to provide basic food and non-food needs, with particularly devastating effects for homes headed by widows, the elderly, people with disabilities, and children. An estimated 3 million children are at risk of malnutrition and susceptible to diseases such as acute watery diarrhea and measles due to weakened immunity.

how to end poverty and hunger in Afghanistan
Photo credit: BBC News

Many people have stepped in on the streets and started begging as the prices of the essential items increase day by day with a crumbling economy and rising poverty.

Dr. Mohammad Nabi Burhan, Secretary General of the Afghan Red Crescent, said: “This is one of the worst humanitarian crises I have seen in Afghanistan, in more than 30 years as a humanitarian aid worker. It is horrifying to see the extent of hunger and the resurgence of poverty that we have fought so hard to eradicate.

How do poverty and hunger affect children and orphans in Afghanistan?

With the government’s transition of power, poverty and drought across the country including the capital Kabul have led to increased hunger. A near-collapse of the health system, and the deteriorating of family income, which has resulted in the mass number of children starvation. As hunger spreads, 22.8 million people, that includes women, children, displaced people, returnees, households headed by women, people with disabilities, and the poor are facing potentially life-threatening levels of food insecurity and malnutrition. Health clinics are filling up with malnourished children under 5 with symptoms such as pneumonia, acute diarrhea, and emaciation.

As per Save the Children, Afghanistan is among the worst conflict-affected countries to be a child. Tragically, millions of Afghan children are growing up in high-intensity conflict zones, forcing many families to flee. Over half of the world’s refugees come from three countries – Afghanistan ranks second.

afghan children collecting garbage
Photo credit: Aljazeera

In September 2021, the poverty rate in Afghanistan hit 72%. According to the United Nations, an estimated 97% of the population could be plunged into poverty by the middle of 2022. Increased poverty and ongoing conflict will lead to more families being driven from their homes.

As per Save the Children statistics:

  • 1 child in 16 dies before their 5th birthday, 3 times that of the U.S.
  • 19.7 million children and adults – almost 50% of the population – are going hungry
  • 5 million children are one step away from famine
  • 27% of children are engaged in child labor, instead of learning
  • 55% of people live in poverty
Afghan children face death from starvation
Photo credit: NBC News

Poverty and hunger forced Afghan parents to sell their children

Would you sell one of your kids to prevent others from dying from hunger? This is such a question that one cannot think of it to answer. It is not imaginable for a parent to reach such a circumstance to decide among their children, which one to sacrifice for the sake of the other children to live. 

David Beasley, executive director of the United Nation’s World Food Programme (WFP), pleaded on BBC News for world and business leaders to step up and donate.

“To the world leaders, to the billionaires: imagine that this was your little girl or your little boy, or your grandchild about to starve to death,” he said. “You would do everything you possibly could, and when there’s $400 trillion worth of wealth on the earth today, shame on us.” “We let any child die from hunger. Shame on us. I don’t care where that child is,” he adds.
afghan parents selling their children
Photo credit: Anadolu Agency

It is a matter of donation for most of us but for the Afghan parents, it’s the choice of which child to sell and sacrifice for food. It is estimated that 8.7 million Afghan children and adults will be starving by 2022. If this happens, untold numbers of children will be begging, married off into violent homes, forced into dangerous and exploitive work, and pulled from school.

5 steps to end poverty and hunger in Afghanistan

As per the abovementioned statistics of poverty and hunger line in Afghanistan and the struggles and sacrifices people are making to continue their lives in this world, what can we do to end poverty and hunger in Afghanistan? If we all have a commitment and promise ourselves to bring changes in our daily lives, there are so many small things for implementation and simple ways to help prevent poverty in the country. The smallest behavioral changes and financial contributions make all the difference to someone in need and are as follows:

  • Avoid wasting food and unnecessary spending
  • Every one of us should feel accountable
  • Give Zakat and Sadaqah
  • Sponsor and orphan child
  • Donate your extra clothes

1- Avoid wasting food and unnecessary spending

Food waste is a major problem globally. From birth to death ceremonies and from wedding parties to individual spending, we are all wasting food, water, and other eatable items. Excess food remains are mixed up with other foods and salads and are thrown into the garbage. The rivalry has become a day-to-day custom among the people. Around 40% of the total food is wasted due to varieties of food offered or purchased. According to FAO, The global volume of food wastage is estimated at 1.6 billion tonnes of “primary product equivalents.” Total food wastage for the edible part of this amounts to 1.3 billion tonnes. 

food wastage
Ending food waste can only be done through a grassroots movement where people individually take responsibility for their actions and also hold accountable the institutions that cause food waste. If we wisely purchase food based on our needs and avoid wasting them, then we can easily manage our expenditure and will have cash or spare food to be donated to those in need. Our consumer choices are the single biggest driver for companies and organizations and if we decide today to not play any part in this global scandal only then can we achieve a place without food waste.

This also means that individuals realize the effect of their actions on people across the globe. Food waste is a global issue. Actions in one part of the world affect people in the other part of the world. We must take this action immediately and understand the value of all the blessings that Almighty Allah has provided us, we must consider those who are in need and should not neglect them. Donate to Hayat Orphanage and let us feed the vulnerable Afghan orphans across the country.

2- Every one of us should feel accountable

We’re all aware of the state of poverty and hunger in Afghanistan and hear about it almost every day. Despite this, many of us cease to do anything about it. Whether we see people begging in the street or children doing labor work, we ignore them on daily basis without giving them a penny.

To make a difference, we must take accountability. Even if you give some food to someone begging or donate the smallest amount of change to an organization, you can say that you did something. If everyone took small steps such as these, we could make giant leaps as a community. At Hayat Orphanage, we look after orphans across the country since 2013. We fulfill their needs in education, clothing, food, and accommodation. Orphans in Afghanistan are the most vulnerable part of the community but with your donation, we can make a difference in their lives. 

donating bread to the afghan women
Photo credit: Reuters

3- Give Zakat and Sadaqah

Your Zakat donations can alleviate poverty and hunger in the country. We at Hayat Orphanage use your Zakat to further strengthen and provide proper education facilities to the orphans, provide them with secure accommodation, relieve their hunger and quench their thirst, and help children and widows living in extreme poverty across Afghanistan. We are making sure that your donations reach those in need.

Similarly, it is a good and prophetic practice that we help those in need via Sadaqah donations. This act will transform the lives of those who are struggling. We utilize your Sadaqah donations towards our aid to lessen the hunger and feed the orphans and widows and those living at the low poverty level.

afghan family received food package
Photo credit: World Bank

Additionally, it won’t cost much to feed or clothe one person each day. Most people are even privileged enough to see loose change as an inconvenience, but someone in poverty finds great value in the smallest amounts. Give your change to someone who will truly appreciate it to help eradicate poverty.

4- Sponsor an orphan child

You can also sponsor a child in Afghanistan for £50 using our website. This amount covers all the expenses of a child for one month and can make a life-changing difference in their lives. At Hayat Orphanage, we provide them with the right support, suitable education, and a secure environment. Such measurements will give them aspirations and they will avoid thinking of hunger and poverty. We provide them healthcare, skills training, financial support, sports, and growth opportunities.
Childhood is supposed to be a time of freedom and fun; however, this isn’t the case for millions of children in Afghanistan. Instead, they are distressed by poverty, hunger, and homelessness. You can help innocent children fight against these struggles through sponsorship.

sponsor orphans in hayat orphanage

5- Donate your extra clothes

We all have some clothes we don’t wear in months, but we have kept them in the wardrobe. We refused to get rid of them by any means. However, some people manage their weeks and months with one cloth and this is very painful and unhygienic. Whether you donate locally or send your spare clothing to Afghanistan, there’s someone out there who desperately needs the clothes that you don’t wear. 

cloth donation

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