Due to global outbreaks of Corona Virus (COVID 19), our project teams in Afghanistan prepared and handed out over 150 PPE kits (Personal Protection Equipment) to Herat Public Health Department, which will be used for patients. Over and above this hygiene kits are also being distributed to students in Gozara, Karokh, Enjil and Kush-e-Robat Sangi districts in the Herat province. Awareness programs have also been organized in these regions to help people understand how to stay safe.
The Corona virus is spreading very fast among the people of Afghanistan, at the time of updating this report – there are 367 positive cases of COVID 19 in Afghanistan, 240 cases in Herat and 127 cases are in other provinces of Afghanistan. There is also an influx of refugees and the situation might require further intervention in the times to come.
India is going through a complete lockdown to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and while most of us are safe at home adjusting to this new way of life – many homeless, migrant people, daily wage labourers and their children across our country are struggling for survival. In situations where even basic food is a challenge – children are obviously the most vulnerable.
Terre des hommes is working through on ground partners across the country to reach out to the most marginalized families and their children. Over the last few days we have been distributing food materials and hygiene packs to ensure that families have enough to see them through for the next few weeks.
Following all social distancing and safety norms – under the guidance of project staff – many children’s and youth groups have been promoting awareness and teaching their communities how to keep safe.
Young girls who are trained in stitching have also started sewing masks as per government specifications to provide to communities who cannot afford to buy any.
Project teams have also been working with government officials and the police force to ensure materials and information is distributed efficiently.
Key child rights agencies in the country come together in these difficult times to stand for children. The Joining Forces India team has submitted an appeal for the most Vulnerable Children amid COVID 19, addressed to the Prime Minister on India , with copy to the key National Ministries and Government Institutions and Child Rights Commission. We are hopeful that this would have a positive outcome and bring into effect measures that children need desperately at these point. You can read the appeal here.
Joining Forces – an alliance of six international child rights organizations – terre des hommes, Plan, SOS Children’s Villages, Child Fund, World Vision and Save the Children, have made an appeal to the Prime Minister of India to ensure children are kept safe, protected and provided with the basic necessities to fight this crisis. You can read the appeal here.
Every year to celebrate the anniversary of the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – children and youth from terre des hommes’ International Youth Network get together in the month of November and raise their voices for their rights. This year is no exception. Read about this amazing initiative on https://www.gam-tdh.org/
Joining Forces for Children – India, an alliance of the six leading child-focused organisations including Terre des hommes launched a report earlier this year which acknowledges the glaring gaps that still exist in child rights in the country. As part of a series of regional launches – the report was formally unveiled in Bhopal on 22nd August, 2019. The event saw attendance from local media and charities and highlighted some of the main issues that plague children’s rights in India.
Young Pondiselvi was married at the tender age of 17 years. That’s because in the tiny village of Viralimalai in the Pudukkottai District of Tamil Nadu where she hails from, the community considers girls to be a burden and gets them married off as soon as possible. By the time Pondiselvi was 25, she was already a mother of three and struggling to make ends meet on her husband’s meager wages.
Similar to many like her, Pondiselvi was determined to change her life: there had to be a way out of the continuous cycle of poverty. Terre des Hommes supported project Sumangali BMZ-C&A (implemented by project partners CARE T and READ Foundation) gave her just that opportunity. When the project team met Pondiselvi during a survey and offered support, she jumped at the opportunity. Fighting all odds she enrolled into one of the project’s programs and started training as a tailor.
The next year was hard. Pondiselvi could only make time for her course when her two older children were at school and would have to take her infant son with her to training sessions. The project staff was very encouraging, motivating Pondiselvi to finish her course. When she did, the Sumangali program provided a loan to start her off on her very own tailoring business.
Today, this young mother runs a successful business in her community. She is a respected tailor and earns enough to supplement the family income and ensure that her children have a better life.
There are many young women like Pondiselvi who still need help and are just waiting for a chance similar to the one Pondiselvi got. Terre des Hommes works across the country to ensure these women and their children get a better life.
Under the auspices of the Green Enterprise initiative, walnut (Juglans regia), lemon (Citrus limon) and mausami (Citrus limetta) farming in Kalikot Village is successfully combining sustainable utilisation of natural resources with small entrepreneurship in the Himalayan region.
The project originated in March 2018 when Kalikot-based HuRENDEC Nepal consulted with the District Forest Office and the Kalikot Chamber of Commerce to assess the potential for green enterprise. With farming identified as an ideal means to support livelihoods in the densely forested and richly biodiverse upper parts of Kalikot district, the next step was to find suitable entrepreneurs.
A group of CBOs are asked to rank themselves on their social and economic status, to identify the poorest and most excluded households. The ranking identified four very poor individuals as potential entrepreneurs to implement livelihood support initiatives.
The project provided a NRs 109,000 (approximately €1,000) enterprise grant. Among the beneficiaries is Jay Bhadur Mahotara from Kalikot village, who grows walnut, lemon and mausami. Jay says, “The idea of farming had been previously presented to me. But without any external support, I was unable to start a green business. Look at me now: through the support of TDH/BMZ Germany, I supply my produce to villages all over and outside the district. I was unemployed earlier, now I have earned NRs 50,000 by selling my produce in the market as well as to my neighbours.”
Pankha Mahotara, a neighbour, says “With the help of farming tips taught from Jay, I have started cultivating the softwood tree, grown and used worldwide for medicinal purposes. Both its timber and fruit are useful.”
By encouraging green enterprise and the creation of livelihood improvement plans, the project is helping to ensure livelihood security for communities that live in and around protected areas. Green Enterprise also promotes sustainability, by helping decrease the haphazard exploitation of natural resources.
Sayeed Habibullah Jamail just graduated from high school. In most countries, this milestone would have been a cause for celebration, but also an expected step in life’s journey. For Sayeed, a student of Abdul Ali Mastaghni High School in Kabul, Afghanistan, it has been dangerous, arduous and not without pain and loss.
Sayeed comes from a very poor family. His father Kamaluddin, unable to read and write even their native language, was keen Sayeed became an educated member of society. “If you study well, you will have a better life in the future and also be of service to your community”, Kamaluddin counselled his son.
Notwithstanding the family’s financial situation, Sayeed had a happy early childhood. That changed when he lost his father to a suicide attack in Abol Fazal cemetery in Kabul, in which Sayeed came close to losing his own life. After his father’s death, the family’s situation worsened. Sayeed looked for employment, but with little work available and low wages it was difficult to provide the family even with regular daily meals. Working hard to battle these challenges and somehow support the family became his daily life. “I felt helpless and hopeless”, Sayeed remembers.
In 2012, Sayeed was enroute to Faryab when a terrorist group invited him to join them. When Sayeed declined – it was a suicide attack which had killed his father – they tortured him and forced him to join them. They started teaching him to use weapons and how to fight. His habits began to change day by day; he started to become hardened and brutal. After a year, and desperately missing home, Sayeed managed to escape. He spent many days and nights on the road, running and hiding, until finally reaching home. Reunited with family, Sayeed was happy again, despite continuing to be tormented by memories of his time in the terrorist camp.
2013 marked a new beginning for Sayeed. He started school in Faryab. After some time in Faryab, he returned to Kabul and switched to a school there. In Kabul, Sayeed came into contact with Afghan Peace Volunteers (APV), a tdh South Asia partner organization. They treated him with love and kindness and welcomed him to the APV family. This made Sayeed feel happy and secure, and made him realize he was not alone. The APV teachers helped him to look past the bad times and start a new life. Five years on from that time, Sayeed proudly graduated from high school.
Given his journey, Graduation Day unsurprisingly had a special significance for Sayeed. “Being at this school brought back happy memories of my childhood. It also reminds me of my father’s words. Graduation Day for me means graduating into a world free of violence, which has always been my dream. Having lived through horrific experiences, I am now optimistic and hopeful. I hope to become a doctor and serve my people. I also want to be a peace activist and bring real and everlasting peace to the people of Afghanistan.”
For Farida, now a typical 9-year old in Herat, the experience of a normal childhood came with difficulty. At the age of 2, in keeping with certain longstanding traditions, she was married to a cousin by her father. Her marriage, and the future it entailed, weighed heavily on Farida’s mind. “She behaved more like a grown up than a child”, says a teacher. Living everyday with the reality of being married was not easy on young Farida. It bothered her the most when she played with her friends, who would taunt her every day about having a husband. Farida became severely stressed, afraid of everyone around her and of the future. Her cheeks would quiver and hands tremble when she tried to speak. She lived with the dread that something bad would happen at any moment and began to suffer from shyness and discrimination. About six months ago Farida started attending a child support center at Masklakh on the outskirts of Herat city, run by Women Activities and Social Awareness Association (WASSA) with support from terre des hommes Germany. After several counselling sessions with Farida and engaging her in group psychotherapeutic games, WASSA’s staff started to see a positive response from her. Gradually she started enjoying play, even beginning to win in games. She started to speak without hesitation or reserve. Her attitude became positive. Farida now speaks boldly about herself and also her group. She mingles freely in the group and is not afraid of being amongst others. Benefiting from hygiene awareness sessions for her and her family, she has improved her hygiene significantly. Farida is now a regular and active student at the center and plays a lot. She says, “If I had not met Ms. Rahmani (of WASSA), I would have continued to be miserable. I am now able to live normally and set goals for myself. I am enjoying being with everybody and learning.” Today, Farida is a very different child from the one who came to the support center six months ago. She now laughs out loud and plays with everyone.