The Welfare Association for the development of Afghanistan

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Discover Inspirational Stories and Latest News Of Our Impactful Work Around Afghanistan

News and Stories

Bila Canal Reconstruction

From the Kunar River in Bar Narang Bila Village in Kunar Province, the irrigation canal is five kilometers long and runs through hundreds of acres. The Malik, a farmer himself and an elder of the village, Abdul Zahir said, “Even though we live on the riverbank, our farming community has suffered over the past few years because the canal was blocked. We could not grow marketable products. The flooding river had partially damaged our water intake. A dynamo, a type of electrical generator, was installed under the National Solidarity Program in June 2011 with the capacity of producing 7.5 kilowatts of electricity for 84 households. The dynamo’s function had been impeded for 12 years due to the lack of water flow.” Funded by UNHCR and carried out by WADAN with extensive community collaboration, the work on this initiative commenced on July 16, 2023, and was completed a month later on August 14. The WADAN team mobilized community members to facilitate the project’s implementation phases and to strengthen sustained commitment to community engagement and development. Engineer Sulaiman Azizi, National Program Coordinator at WADAN, said, “Donations and community contributions were essential project components from the beginning. To repair the canal, we needed to build a temporary canal. As part of the community contribution, Rahmatullah, a village elder, allowed the temporary canal to be dug on his land. “We also encouraged community members to fund the purchase of 3,900 sandbags for the water intake.” Malik Abdul Zahir said.
During this project, the riverbanks were repaired and reconstructed to avoid any future flooding. Sardar Wali, a farmer and community elder from Landi Village noted, “Following the completion of this project, we now have ample water for irrigation. Additionally, our water intake system has been repaired and our electricity restored. This has all contributed to the increased yield of our crops.”

Shaima Hosaini

The Owner of a Bag Making Workshop

Shaima Hosaini daughter of Issa originality from Bamyan who displayed from Bamyan province to Herat 10 years ago. She lives in Jebrail District with her parents and five siblings, three sisters and two brothers. Her two elder sisters and brother got married and left them behind. Shaima state: When we moved to Herat province, we faced a lot of problems. We were not familiar with society and how to communicate with people. My mother art was the only source of income. She used to prepare the expense of the family by making Namad carpet (kind of handmade carpet that made from fleece) and sale to the bazaar. It was not enough to meet our needs. My father a disable person that confined at home all the time and cannot help the family and solve our problems. Shaima explained how she learned the art of Bag-making in a short- time course. The knowledge of making bag alone did not help her, because she needed tools and equipment for making bags and others things.

In June 2019, outreach team was mapping/ screening for the project (Made in Afghanistan) to attract beneficiaries among IDPs, Returners settlement, and those with physical disabilities that have some Art skills and need to be financially supported. Shaima was an artisan and has the eligibility of being artisan, and it helped her to be selected by the WADAN team and beneficiary selection committee in the Bag group. She started working under the support of WADAN for the project (MaA). The team provided her all Raw Materials and equipment. In addition, a safe and comfortable environment to work. These facilities were including having a bank account and the money that has been provided from the sales, plus lunch and refreshment. It was an unbelievable opportunity that brought changes in Shaima’s life. As a beneficiary Shaima participated in exhibitions that conducted by WADAN and learned how to communicate with costumers and market. She was educated through monthly seminars and training program (Capacity building programs) that were conducted by Designer and Marketing officer once in a month. After benefiting from the project for almost one and half year, Shaima graduated from the project in 2020.
Now Shaima has her own business. She runs a private Bag workshop and 5 artisans benefit from her business. According the orders she receives from the market, she produces different bags, for school children teachers. By her savings she bought a machine that cuts the bags and makes her job easier. Her income from the sales is acceptable. She can prepare the expense of her family, her father medicines, and her younger sibling’s needs including stationery and other needs plus salary of her artisans.
She hopes that WADAN can help her develop her business that more people can benefit from her business. She has a plan to extend her business and produces bags in diffferent designs and quality.

She beleives that it will help the industry of handicraft in afghanistan. People do not need to buy the external products that imports from other countries with high price.

The Story of a second grade student

Baheshta, A second Grade Student

Nine-year-old Beheshta, from Mahal Mahbas Village, Baharak District in Badakhshan is a second grade student at the community based school there. Beheshta’s teacher noticed this bright child was suffering and seemed constantly in distress, and so she reported the situation to the AGE Child Protection (CP) team.

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A discussion followed with the little girl’s parents, and her case was registered with the CP database; and soon Beheshta was scheduled to receive medical attention. She went to Fayzabad, the provincial capital, for a consultation with Dr. Viktor Naziri, an urologist. His diagnosis revealed that Beheshta suffered from a kidney and bladder disorder. Dr. Naziri prescribed medication and scheduled follow-up appointments to monitor her progress. Prior to her successful treatment Beshesta’s life was difficult, as she had been ostracized. Her classmates had kept her at a distance, and her family was exhausted. “I felt sad and isolated,” Beheshta said.

Due to the intervention instigated by her teacher, Beheshta’s health and sense of wellbeing improved. She became a joyful and enthusiastic little girl, happy to go to school and included in play with her classmates. Her father, Borhanuddin, expressed his happiness and added, “We are grateful for the educational and health support provided by the CBE in our community.” Beshesta now dreams to become a doctor and provide free medical care to poor children in her village. These days she is known for her outstanding academic ability and is recognized as one of the brightest students in her class. She can and read and write basic paragraphs, do arithmetic and solve mathematical equations.

Meet Mohammad Musa

Mohammad Musa

Meet Mohammad Musa, the 55-year-old head of the School Management Shura (SMS) in Baghi-E-Dasht Village of Versaj District, Takhar Province,

whose dedicated and unwavering commitment to education has led to a successful learning environment for the girls and boys who live there. He has ignited hope for a brighter future in remote areas where children had no access to schools for more than two decades because of successive armed conflicts and impassible routes to public schools.
Mohammad Musa has commended the Central Asia Institute’s (CAI) support in establishing Accelerated Learning Centers (ALCs) and Community Based Education (CBE) classes for out of school children residing in remote areas. He stated that although accessibility to public schools remains limited that CBE has emerged as a beacon of hope in these areas, particularly for economically disadvantaged children who cannot afford essential learning materials. His role covers overseeing the learning environment, teacher-student interactions, assets, and the overall quality of education offered to the children in his district. Musa is an active figure in this project, frequently monitoring and providing guidance to both students and teachers.
Of course, Musa’s involvement transcends the classroom, as he is an active participant in coordination meetings and collaborates with the WADAN team. He stated, “Our SMS members capacities have increased through learning about and practicing our new classroom monitoring skills, and we can now advocate for education; we have learned a lot through close coordination with the WADAN project team and this has had resulted helping us establish child-centered classrooms and effective teaching and learning procedures.”
He looks towards the future with optimism, hoping that this success story would continue to expand beyond Versaj District to encompass more districts and reach even more children. To this end, Musa continues to coordinate with village leaders, including Mullahs, to organize collective support for girls’ education in these advocacy efforts. We are committed to mobilize Mullahs in our community to support this initiative and support girls’ education. To summarize his thoughts he said, “The provision of education is now an important part of our lives, and we must work to pave the way to provide schooling for our children.”

Arifa Rohani, The Artist

Arifa Rohani the Artist

Now 35, Arifa Rohani is a “Made in Afghanistan” project participant from the project’s host community in Herat City. She completed her fine art studies at the University of Herat in 2010. Arifa’s father died when she was six years old. She explained the family’s situation, “We were destitute.

When I graduated from university, I had to work to support my family, but my income was insufficient to meet our needs.” In 2011, Arifa opened a small art gallery near her home to exhibit and sell her calligraphy and paintings. She said, “I had no marketing approach, and could not earn enough to afford the rent of the premises or to buy supplies. I felt miserable and closed my gallery.”
However, after some years passed, Arifa was discovered by the WADAN outreach team and delighted when she was notified that she had met the project selection criteria for “Made in Afghanistan.” She joined the project on March 15, 2021. Arifa learned marketing skills and developed her design skills, she received a financial allowance, a monthly stipend to buy supplies; her ambition was revived and her artwork was nourished. She became an entrepreneur with her newly acquired business acumen. She said, “I also gained salable skills including painting on wood, pottery and glass. I have become prominent in Herat City.”
Arifa earns a regular income that averages more than AFN 10,000 per month through sales in Afghan and international exhibitions. In the US, her work has been sent to Massachusetts, Vermont and Washington DC. Hand-painted storybooks and drawing and design work that includes painting on clothing and hand-blown Herat glass are Arifa’s current projects. “I was very inspired when my products were exhibited internationally; this would have been unimaginable before joining “Made in Afghanistan.” I was delighted when my work went to the United States. I wanted to understand how to approach international markets as I have learned how to take an active part in the local exhibitions. I have learned the skills that contribute to sustainable entrepreneurship and I will make my work sustainable.”

Arzo Ismailzada, the Entreprenuer

Arzo Ismailzada, The Entreprenuer

Arzo Ismailzadah overcame daunting challenges while pursuing her passion for art and fulfilling the need to support her family in their home in Herat City.

When her father retired without a pension when she was still a student, Arzo persevered and completed her studies at the Fine Arts Institute of Ustad Kamaluddin Behzad. She then applied her skills and talent in painting miniatures and drawing, creating beautiful artworks and selling them to friends.
Realizing her younger siblings could not contribute financially, Arzo searched for a good job. Then, in 2020, she happened to attend a sales exhibition at Allama Saljuqi, a venue of the Herat Provincial Directorate of Information and Culture, where she learned about an opportunity offered by the UNHCR-funded Made in Afghanistan project. In March 2021, Arzo applied for admission into the initiative for skilled artisans and was selected to participate. During this intervention, she created a diverse collection of items and took part in several local exhibitions.
When her work was shipped to the United States in 2022 and sold, Arzo was thrilled. She has received regular orders from Østerland, a company founded in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2021 to preserve craftsmanship and create economic opportunities in the Middle East and Afghanistan. She stated, “Although the ban on women’s activities limits our productivity and restricts our chances to learn; the ban did not kill my ambition and has not prevented me from supporting my family.”
Arzo’s work has sold well at venues in Afghanistan including the Palladium Center, the Lajwerd Exhibition, and the Allama Saljuqi and Guzarah Exhibitions. She participates in all exhibitions available to sell her hand painted Herat blue glassware, miniature paintings and conventional acrylic paintings. Her total sales, nationally and internationally, have amounted to AFN 35,000 (around USD 400.00) during 2022 and the first half of 2023; in addition she receives a monthly stipend of AFN 7,000 (USD 80.00) from the MaA project.
These days Arzo works at home. She remains hopeful for a future where she envisions women actively participating in society, working alongside men in jobs that would allow them to pursue their dreams and support their families. Arzo’s resilience and determination serve as an inspiration to others, showcasing the transformative power of art and the potential for economic empowerment through creativity and ambition.

Gita Success Story

Meet Gita, Learn about her Success

Thirteen-year-old Gita lives in Farah City, where most girls are denied their right to education and other basic services. In this environment, poverty and harmful cultural customs are two of the reasons that often discourage families from allowing their daughters to go to school and unsurprisingly, illiteracy and poverty persist. However, Gita held a deep passion for learning and although she received no support from her family, including her own mother, she started attending classes with enthusiasm when the Accelerated Learning Center (ACL) opened in November 2021.

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This ACL was established by WADAN and funded by Global Partnership for Education (GPE) through UNICEF.
Gita’s spirits fell when, citing cultural considerations, her mother banned her from going to the ALC in July 2023. WADAN’s community mobilizers and child protection team had delivered numerous trainings on advocacy for girls’ education, community mobilization, child protection and class monitoring measures to the project’s school management Shuras (SMS) So when Gita’s teacher, Shafiqa, and female members of the Shura realized Gita had dropped out they initiated discussions with her mother and advocated for Gita’s right to education. Shafiqa and Saeeda Akbar repeatedly encouraged Gita’s mother to reconsider her decision to remove Gita from classes at the ACL. “We mobilized all the female Shura members of to sit with Gita’s mother; we focused on telling her about the Islamic values that promote education for girls and we finally convinced her to send Gita back to school,” Shafiqa said.
With both community and family support Gita now thrives with newfound determination. She excelled in her third grade final exams, securing the top spot among thirty students. Gita has hope for her future and aspires to be a teacher who would work to educate thousands of underprivileged girls. “I want to become like my teacher Shafiqa and Saeeda, the most active member of our school Shura. They advocated for me and succeeded, they were able to get me back into class. I am inspired and will work to encourage girls’ education in the future.”

Nadia Sadat, A shura Member

Nadia Sadat, School Management Shura Member

Nadia Sadat, on the right, talks to Child Protection (CP) officer, Baharak, 2022.

 WADAN implements the Central Asia Institute (CAI) funded Afghanistan Girls’ Education (AGE) project in Badakhshan, which provides basic education through two community-based approaches, Community-Based Education and Accelerated Learning Centers (CBE and ALC.)  Read More Below…..

These approaches are designed to create inclusive teaching and learning environments for girls and boys; while community mobilization and capacity-building activities are the complementing components used to reach this goal.
WADAN has worked to mobilize communities in remote areas to contribute to their girls’ education. Nadia Sadat, from Mahal Mahbas Village in Baharak District, participates in this mission. As a capable and active female member of the School Management Shura (SMS) in her village, she played a vital role when community mobilizers visited her village to identify students and establish a CBE class. Nadia conducted awareness sessions about the crucial importance of primary education, mobilizing women and the parents of school aged children to send their girls to school and she also encouraged those with suitable space available to provide a classroom.
Nadia takes part in regular SMS meetings and provides regular support to the community mobilizers, teachers, and students. She explained the process; “I took part in several sessions about monitoring procedures, community mobilization, and providing social support, and that is when I became informed about community mobilization and how to promote education for girls I found I was able to work effectively.”

Education for Marginalized Children

Education team in Helmand seeks community contribution for class establishment. November 2022

Over the past twenty years insecurity caused by ongoing warfare shut down hundreds of schools in Helmand and Farah Provinces. Lack of schools and school supplies limited access to education in the remote areas of these provinces.Starting on October 1, 2022 WADAN began to implement the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) funded Afghanistan Humanitarian Fund (AHF) Education in Emergencies (EiE) project for Afghan Children in Helmand and Farah. Read More Below…..

This project, which runs through September 30, 2023, provides primary school lessons to 5,400 school-aged children (60% girls and 40% boys) in Khak-e-Safeed and Qala-e-Kah Districts of Farah and Laskhkargah and Nahr-e-Saraj Districts of Helmand.

Using village-based classrooms in Community Based Education (CBE) and Accelerated Learning Center (ALC) interventions WADAN has established 126 schools in Helmand and 54 schools in Farah. During the project’s lifecycle, students and teachers receive learning materials and teachers study pedagogy as well as knowledge of child protection measures. Communities are introduced to the idea of hosting their new schools; people are mobilized and become dedicated to the importance of EiE in their villages through engagement with their School Management Shuras (SMS) with one shura operating in each participating village.

Abdul Karim's Story

Abdul Karim's Story

 Abdul Karim 64 years old an IDP-Returnee displaced person from conflict. Who is displaced from Safian, Lashkargah district to Hazar Asp area of Nawa district last two years ago and return back to the place of origin Safian, Lashkargah district, because of conflict and insecurity. Who is suffering from his old age, physically weakness and he is unable to care for himself on a daily basis.

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Abdul Karim 64 years old an IDP-Returnee displaced person from conflict. Who is displaced from Safian, Lashkargah district to Hazar Asp area of Nawa district last two years ago and return back to the place of origin Safian, Lashkargah district, because of conflict and insecurity. Who is suffering from his old age, physically weakness and he is unable to care for himself on a daily basis.

He has been settle in his own house. He isn’t take care from the family members. He does not have any community support, either his relatives and family members doesn’t support him. He has no properly daily or monthly income or saving money to support himself. The living situation is not good for him because food and healthy materials in not available on time. His wife has heart disease due to bad economic situation they didn’t have cash for her treatment. He never gets any kind of assistance from any governmental and non- governmental organization.

Living condition comments for POC:

Abdul Karim has been settle in his own house. He does not have any community support, either his relatives or family members doesn’t support him. He has no properly daily or monthly income or saving money to support himself. The living situation is not good for him because food and healthy materials in not available on time. The basic items are not enough for one month to mitigates food and health risk.

General Comments for POC:

Abdul Karim life situation is very bad and need a specific protection to mitigated food and health risks because he is suffering from his old age, physically weakness and he is unable to care for himself on a daily basis. All these vulnerabilities made the POC eligible to be assisted from PSN project, if he isn’t assisted his life will become full of difficulties.

Based on the above assessment, investigation and consultation with PoC, we are recommend him for cash assistance to mitigates food and health risks that the beneficiary had right now. His mentioned life story made him eligible for PSN project to receive cash assistance to mitigate upcoming any type of risk that the beneficiary will face in the future.

Farooq's Story

“TUP-WADAN has created an idea of saving and through this I have made a cheese to sell in the market and wish to enhance this buisness”.

With support from the World Bank through MISFA, the Welfare Association for the Development of Afghanistan (WADAN) implements the Targeting Ultra Poor Project (TUP) in Mehtarlam, Qarghayee, Alishing and Alingar Districts of Laghman Province. Farooq is a resident of Qala-e-Mahbas Village in Mehtarlam District. He was a laborer and lost his three brothers and one son in the war. He was the only one earning money for food for his family that includes his nephew and nieces. 

 According to Farooq last year WADAN started the TUP project asking all community members to participate in the Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA). The community elders introduced us to the WADAN as ultra-poor in the PRA. The WADAN-TUP team visited our house several times and I was selected as a beneficiary at first stage. In the second stage I was successfully selected in the lottery. The team provided a productive cow and a 1,000 Afghani monthly stipend for livestock feed. They have also provided regular training on health and hygiene, livestock care, living within community, livelihood and saving money for the future. The provincial TUP team trained us about how to keep the livestock and encouraged me to start saving income from selling the milk, yogurt and cheese. My monthly savings are about 2,200 to 2,800 Afghanis. I have also become able to enrolled one daughter and one son in school.Through TUP Farooq has become independent and self-sufficient. He is happy the TUP project has been implemented in his district as it directly helps poor people.

Noorabdin Story

Noorabdin Story

Noorabdin is 61of age, an elderly disabled returnee who is a UNHCR direct beneficiary of the PSN project Nangarhar. He has been suffering from right leg physical disability since 1993.

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29 years ago while he was working in a demining organization (ATC) in the area of Chaparhar District, Nangarhar province. During a given mission, a planted mine exploded on him, which caused his right leg injured severely. After medical check-ups and tests, doctors consulted him to cut his leg in upper side of his knee. After losing his leg, he could not continue his job with his disability, he only received 250,000 PKR from the ATC organization as assistance and invested it in a general grocery shop in Nagoman, Peshawar, Pakistan. He was surviving and supporting his family with this set up till his repatriation to Afghanistan.

Noorabdin has a family of ten members including him, four sons, four daughters and a spouse. His children are going to school to get educated. After he returned from Pakistan, the amount which he obtained from selling his grocery shop in Peshawar, he bought a piece of land in Daman area and constructed four rooms. He along with his children are currently living in it, he has two grown up sons who got married and have their own large size of families who are living in Peshawar. They are separated from him; both are working as a daily wage labour who can rarely support him for daily life basic needs. The family is facing worse economic conditions. He received an assistance of 190 USD from UNCHR upon returning from Pakistan which has already been spent for the vehicle rent and home appliances. During the assessment, his household was found with no enough food items for his large family. In addition, he already borrowed 50,000 AFN from his relatives and shopkeepers for their daily basic needs, but due to his disability and no income he is unable to pay the taken loan.

Noorabdin and his children are at risk, a disabled person with no income, burden on his relatives and neighbours who rarely support him for food items, unable to return an already borrowed of 50,000 AFN to his relatives and neighbours. All these vulnerabilities made the family eligible to be assisted from PSN project. If he is not assisted, his children may become deprived from education, his spouse and eldest daughters may start working at their neighbourhood to support for their family which is not morally and culturally good. He may start begging, and their economic situation will get even worsen.

Based on the above observation of our field officers and consultation with PSN, we recommended him for cash assistance of $300 for his self-reliance in terms of a general grocery shop in Daman. It is the area where he lives, is crowded, and he has enough experience of the grocery shop from the past which will help him to have more customers to earn enough income. Through the assistance he may become self-dependent and protected.

After conducting the follow up visit by our team recently, we found he earns 250-300 AFN per day and was so happy from his business. Slowly and gradually, sales of his shop will improve and eventually his business will grow. He is also trying to save some money. He is planning to expand his business once he has enough money from the sale of its products. Noorabdin is so grateful to UNHCR and WADAN for their financial and moral support.