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Overcoming tragedy upon tragedy: A widow finds the means to care for her orphaned grandchildren

THE STORY OF HAFIZA

 First, Hafiza lost her husband to a fatal illness. Not long after the tragedy of his passing, her widow daughter died leaving Hafiza the responsibility of earning a living to bring up her own grandchildren. Her situation was dire, but thanks to TUP, she now has a regular source of income.

After her husband Amruddin was diagnosed with a fatal disease, Hafiza had to work doing daily labour in their village in the outskirts of Faizabad in the northeastern province of Badakhshan. She earned a measly income that was not sufficient to cover her household’s daily needs and her husband’s medicine.

“We had a deprived living situation,” said Hafiza, whose extended family, including her widowed daughter with three children, lived in a cramped mud house. “We spent every penny we had on food and my husband’s treatment, but in the end, he didn’t survive.” And this was the beginning of great hardship for Hafiza.

To earn money, she would take whatever daily work she could find in the fields or in the villagers’ shops and houses. Sometimes, neighbors help out, giving Hafiza used clothing for hergrandchildren. But there were many more nights when they all slept on an empty stomach.

She was still mourning the death of her husband when her widowed daughter suddenly passed away. This was a time of severe grief and sorrow for Hafiza: “I was losing my mind due to stress and sadness. I had no friends and family who could lend a helping hand. I resolved to work even harder and make a life worth living for my orphaned grandchildren.”

Hafiza’s case is an example of extreme poverty, which qualified her to participate in the Targeting the Ultra-Poor Programme. She is one out of 800 beneficiaries in Badakhshan that the TUP lifted out of extreme poverty.

As a TUP beneficiary, she received a monthly stipend for basic household needs, including food and free medical treatment. Hafiza now owns a livestock and has received training on livestock raring, social health and other important subjects.

“The TUP programme has changed my life,” said Hafiza. At present, she owns a cow, which produces milk that her grand children drink. She also makes yogurt and sells it in the nearby market to earn Afs 2,000 on average on a monthly basis. She had started saving at FMFB with an amount of Afs 2,500 and already she was able to purchase some new utensils for her home.

With Funding from IFAD and in coordination with MAIL, TUP was first piloted in Bamyan and then replicated in Badakhshan, targeting a total of 1,760 female-headed households suffering from abject poverty. The successful implementation of the TUP project has encouraged donors to support the program scale-up as a viable path to poverty reduction and national economic recovery in Afghanistan.

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