The mud-house which Mir Afroz lives in with her three children tells the story of a family whose life is steeped in tragedy and poverty. Warmed only by a dusty old carpet and a charcoal-cloaked clay pot oven, the single-room house in Samadi village in Faizabad of Badakhshan province, has been home to the 40-year old widow and her family since the tragic death of her husband eight years ago.
Mir Afroz’s husband was working in a poppy field when one day, as he was taking a rest, a heavy rock fell from the mountains and onto his leg, injuring his bones severely. He died shortly thereafter, forcing Mir Afroz to suddenly take on the role of income earner.
The widow, who is illiterate, took on clothes washing job, collecting firewood, and any other random work she could find. She earned a maximum of AFN 500 a month. However, work was so irregular that most days, her family ate only one meal a day.
One day, while at work collecting wood, a freak accident, uncannily resembling the incident that killed her husband, occurred. Mir Afroz was hit on her head by a falling rock, landing her in the hospital for weeks. While she was in the hospital, neighbors took care of feeding her children. As soon as she was discharged from the hospital Mir Afroz went straight back to work, but life just got harder with her permanent injury.
Out of desperation, she married off her 15-year old daughter, as a way to get money. Her daughter, named Anar Gul had studied up to grade 10.
“I wanted her to finish at least her high school, but I was forced to marry her off because of poverty.” said Mir Afroz. “I could not afford any expenses.”
Mir Afroz found some relief when she was identified as a TUP beneficiary by MISFA’s implementing partner, CoAR. Nowadays, she doesn’t have to face desperation alone. She is receiving a stipend of AFN 1,000 per month and has been able to save half of that. She is excited to receive her productive livestock such as cow and sheep which will be distributed soon.
Her three dependent children are all going to school: Abdul Matin, 13 years old; Bibi Paee 10 years old and Abdul Musawer, 8 years old are at grade 8, 6 and 2 respectively.
Mir Afroz has also been linked to a health facility to receive therapy for her illness, Leishmaniasis. Until she enrolled in TUP, she had never known how it is, not to be desperately poor.