Afghanistan

COVID-19 Update: May 26th 2020

While our work in Cambodia and Vietnam is returning to normal following COVID-19, our work in Afghanistan continues to be impacted significantly and we would like to ask you to include our colleagues and clients here in your thoughts and prayers.

Last week, a report by the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs stated: “Conflict and natural disasters across the country continue to displace thousands of families, compounding pre-existing vulnerabilities and making them potentially more susceptible to serious consequences from COVID-19.”

 

Over 10,000 people, across all 34 provinces, have tested positive for Coronavirus in Afghanistan and Kabul, where Hagar is based, is the most affected. The number of recorded cases nationwide has almost doubled in just 10 days. The country faces significant increases in the price of food and families, who rely on casual day labour, are increasingly vulnerable. Hagar staff are also experiencing difficulty connecting with former clients and families due to limited internet infrastructure but are still managing to check in with former and existing clients.

The boys shelter that Hagar runs remains open and the staff remain committed to being there for the boys.

For example, the manager of the boys centre, walked 40 minutes in the pouring rain one morning recently after he was unable to drive past a checkpoint that had been set up to limit the spread of the virus.

Please pray if you can for Afghanistan, our colleagues and those that we serve. We would really appreciate it.

COVID-19 Update: May 15th 2020

There are 5,226 confirmed COVID-19 cases as at 14 May.

However, beyond COVID-19, there has been significantly more unrest in Afghanistan due to the recent tragic attacks on a maternity ward in Kabul and at a police commander’s funeral in the neighboring Nangarhar province.

New mothers, nurses and at least two newborn babies were among the 16 people killed in an assault on the maternity hospital in the capital, Kabul, while the bombing in the Nangarhar province killed at least 26 people. You can read a full news report here.

The country is also experiencing challenges in access to food due to the longer term impact of war and more recent COVID-19 pandemic.

Afghanistan is a landlocked country and has experienced decades of war, insecurity and drought which has destroyed its rich agriculture. As a result, there has been a spike in imported goods.

This has in turn caused a significant increase in price of wheat, oil and pulses across the country in the past month. When Pakistan, Tajikistan and major borders were shut down due to COVID-19, other food supplies, medicine and essential items also became scarce.

Sadly, the extreme spikes in food prices and supplies is felt most by those that are vulnerable in the community. They are also often not prioritized when it comes to food distribution.

From a Hagar Afghanistan perspective, we are not able to conduct some of our project activities using the usual approach due to COVID-19 restrictions. For example, our caseworkers are not able to deliver training to clients or visit them and some survivors are unable to attend classes at school. Vocational training is also postponed as staff cannot interact with clients face to face. However, staff are trying to remain in contact with survivors via phone as much as possible.

Due to decades of war, the IT and power infrastructure in Afghanistan is weak and therefore problematic when it comes to conducting any online training.

COVID-19 Update: April 30th 2020

The situation in Afghanistan remains challenging and complex. At the beginning of the pandemic, people in Kabul were anxious and fearful of the COVID-19 virus. However, since Afghanistan has not yet been affected in a major way, many are less cautious now. The Afghans, being very social people, are struggling to follow social distancing and have adopted a mentality of simply hoping that if they catch the virus it will impact them mildly. However, face masks are being frequently used.  

Christiana, Executive Director of Hagar Afghanistan, sent the following update through regarding Hagar Afghanistan’s project and the impacts on the staff:

“The beneficiaries at the Forgotten No More centre (Hagar’s centre for young boys who have experienced significant trauma) are now adjusting to the lockdown. Most are able to adapt to the new schedules and studying at home. They are not fearful of the COVID-19 virus. For some however, the emotional struggles have increased as they face the impacts of childhood trauma. They are all very thankful for the home and all the provisions of food and supplies. For many this would not be so in the provinces where they are from. Our clients have shared that in their own homes they had never had such good care and provisions. While thankful for this care, some are anxious to know if their families are well in this time of crisis. The staff continue to ensure the clients who have family phone contacts are able to call home regularly.

Around the world despite the lockdown, employees both male and female have been able to complete significant office duties and assignments from their homes. Many would share of new adjustments but for many others opportunities to work from home are more difficult… This is especially true for our female staff. The strong cultural norms here in Afghanistan are that women whilst at home must only be busy with cooking, cleaning and caring for the family’s needs. Parents in laws, some parents and husbands are unwilling to release the women to work online and on laptops and on phones. These are women who, in the last years, were grateful that they were allowed to leave their homes to work during the day at offices and so were released from doing only housework. However, the lockdown has changed it all for them now.  One of our staff members stated she could no longer cope with the pressure at home and being able to deliver her responsibilities to a standard she expects of herself and as a result was planning to resign.

Through interpersonal counselling, we have found an option that will enable her to balance the expectations.”

 Such an update truly highlights the different challenges that COVID-19 presents in different countries and cultures. 

Our Work in Afghanistan

Read about the incredible family reunion Hagar recently facilitated here:

Afghanistan has one of the highest rates of violence against women in the world, with deep beliefs about gender roles. The ongoing conflict and consequent displacement of so many, also makes this nation a perfect target for traffickers. A study of 210 stakeholders in Afghanistan in 2014 (including 130 boys) found, for example, that on average one in ten boys interviewed had experienced human trafficking!

Hagar Afghanistan is one of the only organisations in the country delivering the long-term support services required to recover from such trauma. Staff walk the whole journey with the boys they encounter, each one traumatised as a result of the abuse they have suffered.

Hagar Afghanistan is also working with the government to combat the trafficking of boys and raise awareness about women’s rights.

 

Help us Transform Lives

Donate Now

By partnering with Hagar, you're supporting survivors to heal from the trauma of severe abuse. Our work is dependent on charitable giving by people like you. 

Help us Transform Lives

Donate Now

By partnering with Hagar, you're supporting survivors to heal from the trauma of severe abuse. Our work is dependent on charitable giving by people like you. 

 

Help us Transform Lives

Donate Now

By partnering with Hagar, you're supporting survivors to heal from the trauma of severe abuse. Our work is dependent on charitable giving by people like you. 

 

Help us Transform Lives

Donate Now

By partnering with Hagar, you're supporting survivors to heal from the trauma of severe abuse. Our work is dependent on charitable giving by people like you. 

 

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