Millions of people have fled Afghanistan in the past years, hoping to find protection from the war. After the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001, around six million refugees returned to Afghanistan. At the same time, the number of internally displaced persons rose due to combat. Many flew to Kabul, hoping for safety and a better livelihood.
The consequence: a true population explosion in Afghanistan's capital. It's a magnet for returnees from abroad, internally displaced, and rural migrants who hope for peaceful new beginnings in the city.
Refugees in need: how we help in Kabul
However in Kabul, too, people are at risk of hardship and hunger. Many find shelter in slum areas, where food, infrastructure, electricity, water as well as sewage and waste disposal are rare, if at all accessible. Furthermore, refugees and returnees often don't have access to the overcrowded hospitals and schools in Kabul. The situation in tent camps and slums is particularly bad in cold winter. Welthungerhilfe therefore provides refugees with warm winter clothes and firewood.
Welthungerhilfe has been supporting refugees in Afghanistan since 2010, in order to reduce people's suffering and improve their living standards. This is how we help:
- We support returnees in finding permanent accommodation in Kabul
- We help constructing latrines
- We offer literacy courses for adults
Outside of Kabul, refugees return to abandoned, run-down villages. There, we improve the irrigation infrastructure and agricultural cultivation methods.
Circus project for child refugees: activities against the trauma of war
Especially women and children need help: a lot of refugees don't find work in the city. The men can get by as day labourers, women however often live socially isolated and in makeshift shelters. Child labour is also widespread.
Together with our partner, the Afghanistan Educational Children's Circus (AECC), we offer refugee children the opportunity to play and have fun in a safe environment. By rebuilding classrooms, we also enable them to go to school. Many children suffer from their experiences of war and displacement. With the help of educational activities we are trying to support them to one day overcome terrible experiences and traumas of war.
Welthungerhilfe carries out income-generating measures, enabling women to earn a living. We also support them with the marketing of poultry and agricultural produce.
Networking improves aid measures for refugees
In addition to these measures, Welthungerhilfe supports refugees and returnees to exchange experiences and to network, allowing them a better dialogue with local authorities and the government.
Regular meetings between representatives of refugees in Kabul are organised, where they can share experiences and start a dialogue with government officials. This helps the Afghan government to understand the needs of displaced people – and to adjust their services like schools, hospitals and infrastructure accordingly.
The aid measures are financially supported by the Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
"Stories Told by the Wind", a documentary about life in Afghanistan, was produced as part of the #DontForgetAfghanistan campaign.