Decades of conflict in Afghanistan have caused severe instability, escalating the poverty rate from 47% to 97% in just three years. UNOCHA reports 23.8 million Afghans need humanitarian aid in 2023, with 8.2 million as refugees and 3.2 million internally displaced. The Zahra Trust team is on the ground and addressing these crises, offering vital assistance, including emergency aid, shelter, clean water, and education to marginalized communities often overlooked by conventional aid efforts.
Decades of conflict and turmoil in Afghanistan has led to widespread instability and a dire humanitarian crisis. In just 3 years, Afghanistan’s poverty rate has climbed from 47% to a staggering 97%, according to the UNOCHA. It is estimated that 23.8 million Afghans are in need of humanitarian assistance in 2023, up from 24.4 million in 2022, as the situation continues to deteriorate. A further 8.2 million Afghans are refugees with 3.2 million internally displaced.
Through its local representatives on the ground, The Zahra Trust provides aid to thousands of people in Afghanistan each year, with a focus on the most marginalised communities that aid often does not reach. From emergency aid to shelter and clean water and education, The Zahra Trust provides timely and effective support to people in need through its local programmes in Afghanistan.
The situation at a glance:
- 2 million people are in need of nutrition assistance
- 5 million children/caregivers are in need of protection services
- 6 million children are in need of education support
- 2 million people are in need of water and sanitation services
How The Zahra Trust is Helping
Devastating emergency humanitarian disasters by way of conflict and natural disaster have ravaged Afghanistan and brought widespread suffering and hardship to its people. The Zahra Trust responded to 6 emergencies over the last twelve months in Afghanistan which included supporting those affected by an earthquake, flooding and deadly blasts. Each emergency situation further exacerbates the existing humanitarian crisis in the region and curtails progress made by humanitarian NGOs. The Zahra Trust’s humanitarian responses are tailored to the needs of those affected following a rapid needs assessment and our local teams are able to provide assistance efficiently as disasters unfold. Aid can include anything from food, medical aid, hygiene kits, emergency medical supplies, water and shelter.
The education system in Afghanistan is critically underfunded and at risk of collapse. Humanitarian intervention to support educational infrastructure has become a critical need as many children do not have access to quality education or are prevented from attending school altogether. The Zahra Trust supports the education of thousands of children in Afghanistan through the establishment of schools as well as the support of children’s school fees and equipment.
With plans underway to establish a new school that caters to hundreds of children in Afghanistan in a secure compound, The Zahra Trust also currently runs a school that caters to 300 children of primary school age, providing them with quality schooling and equipment as well as two free meals per day throughout each term. We ensure that they are provided with a safe and secure environment to learn, fully trained faculty staff and that their families are cared for. We are in the process of developing the school further to equip it with the latest facilities such as smart boards and provide school uniforms for the children.
Food insecurity is a threat to millions in Afghanistan, with a staggering 19.9 million facing acute food insecurity with another 6 million facing emergency-level food insecurity. Further demonstrating the great need for adequate nutritious food, almost half of children under the age of 5 and a quarter of pregnant and breast-feeding women are currently in need of life-saving nutrition support.
Throughout the year, The Zahra Trust provides solutions to food insecurity by supplying vulnerable families with locally purchased food in the form of one month food parcels, prepared meals and fresh meat. Over the last twelve months, The Zahra Trust delivered over 3,500 one-month food parcels, over 15,000 fresh meals and around 114,000 school meals for children. In addition, The Zahra Trust provided meat to hundreds of families through its Qurbani programme by facilitating the slaughter of over 90 locally sourced livestock for preparation and distribution to local families.
Water is a critical need for all people and conversely, a lack of access to clean water and adequate sanitation facilities can lead to widespread disease, illness and death.
In the past decade, significant strides have been made in Afghanistan’s access to clean drinking water. Currently, over 67% of Afghans have access to clean drinking water through “improved drinking water sources,” which are safeguarded against external contamination. This represents a noteworthy improvement compared to a decade ago when only 20% of the population had access to safe drinking water. Approximately 80% of families in Afghanistan have toilets or latrines, but only around 43% of them are classified as “improved and safe.” This indicates that these facilities effectively separate human waste from human contact, ensuring hygienic conditions.
Water wells provide a vital source of clean water for communities, particularly for those who are situated within remote areas. The Zahra Trust has established 14 wells over the last year to provide access to clean water for entire communities to help them maintain their health and encourage them to thrive.
The Zahra Trust provides safe and secure housing to families in need of shelter from the harsh elements in Afghanistan. In the last twelve months, 5 homes have been completed with dozens more under construction and plans are underway to expand this programme to home even more vulnerable families. The Zahra Trust believes in empowering the individuals and families that benefit from its services and as such, we ensure that families that we home across our areas of operation receive the full deeds in their names so that they can feel secure in the ownership of their fully equipped family home.
The winter months in Afghanistan are particularly harsh with temperatures dropping as low as -25°C leading to illness and even death. Families without access to basic necessities such as shelter, food and heating supplies are the most vulnerable to the conditions and spend the winter months struggling to survive. Each year, The Zahra Trust provides essential winter items for hundreds of families in Afghanistan to help them face the freezing temperatures, including food, blankets, clothing and heating supplies.
The Zahra Trust prides itself on delivering aid to those most in need who are often the most vulnerable, forgotten and marginalised groups in society. In Afghanistan, where it is estimate that there are up to 2 million widows and many more orphans, The Zahra Trust focuses its assistance on orphans and widows, giving them access to all of its areas of support including financial aid to help ease the burden to provide food, medicines and other basic necessities.