Reading about the Afghan widows and children we support is the best way to learn how our work and your donations are making a difference.
Masudah is a young girl from our Badakhshan Hope House. Masudah has been blind her entire life and up until now, has never been given an opportunity to restore her sight. In Afghanistan, a lack of healthcare services means that many individuals suffer from curable illnesses and defects their entire life. This disadvantage hinders their ability to be educated, enter the workforce and escape the cycle of poverty.
From a young age, Masudah was deprived of her parent’s love, and after her mother died, was enrolled into Badakhshan Orphanage. Masudah is a gorgeous young girl who welcomes everyone warmly and loves to chat. Thanks to the generous support from our donors, we were recently able to take Masudah to Kabul for corrective eye surgery. The operation was a huge success, with Masudah’s sight now restored. We are so happy to see Masudah smiling and are thankful to the good people who allow these life-changing opportunities to happen.
Hameed is 17 years old, a very polite and intelligent boy, and attends class 10. Hameed is one of the boys who has grown up at Mahboba's Promise and is now approaching adulthood. According to Afghan government policy, once children are 18 years old they cannot continue to live in an orphanage, so Mahboba's Promise has found new off-site accommodation for Hameed and all the other boys who are 17-18 years.
In addition to still attending school, Hameed also helps out in the Mahboba’s Promise Kabul office with administrative and photography tasks.
In early 2014, Hameed was selected as a successful candidate for a Photo and Videography scholarship provided by the Aieena Cultural Organization. He has been attending these classes for four months now. Hameed is using the skills he is learning to perform photography work needed in the office at Mahboba's Promise office, such as images for reports.
Hameed also organises the Book Club competition that is run at Hope House for the younger orphans. He says: “The time I passed in Kabul Hope House was the golden one due to the fact that I was given opportunity to study and the ground was prepared for us to develop and be a sound member in our society. My future desire is to complete my education and become a professional photographer and video maker”.
Mazari, our tailoring course teacher, is one of the orphan girls who were supported by Mahboba’s Promise. She has participated in earlier courses to learn tailoring skills and is now teaching and shares her skills with other widows and orphans.
Mazari was a child when her father was killed by government criminals. She is a brave orphan girl and a hard worker. She is now managing the tailoring course and teaches the widows to be like her in the future
Tarana is a widow who participated in our tailoring training course. She has six children, one of whom is disabled. She enjoys the sewing course as it has allowed her to build hope for the future and she makes an effort to always be positive now. Tarana’s brothers in law noticed the change in attitude and her new-found self- esteem. She is now going to stand on her own feet and act for herself rather than obey them at all times. Her brother in law wanted her to marry him and not to go to the tailoring course. She refused and he beat her and tore up her coupon so she couldn’t come to Hope House. She still came and shared her situation with the other women, a testament to the close bond they have formed.
She graduated from the course on 26th January 2016 and has since found employment and is beginning to rebuild her life.
Hi, my name is Najeeba. I have two younger brothers and we came to Hope House when I was eight. When we first saw Hope House, we thought it was like a palace! It is a very nice place to live and we have found many new younger brothers and sisters.
When we first arrived, we were not familiar with many things, but as we have grown up, we have learnt.
Life has changed drastically for me since coming to Hope House. I am now going to school, I have a nice, safe place to sleep, and delicious food every day. For me, all of these things used to be dreams, but Mahboba’s Promise has made them a reality.
I can now read and write and, and I intend to share that with the other children as much as possible.
Along with my education, I started taekwondo at Hope House. We had a very good and kind teacher, whose name was Mrs Laila.
I have learnt taekwondo well and have achieved my blue belt. I have also participated in 20 matches and placed 1st, 2nd and 3rd in most of them, winning two cups and 19 medals.
I am now teaching taekwondo to the children at Hope House, which is something I really enjoy.
In 2014, Mahboba’s Promise was able to provide training to 30 high school graduate girls in midwifery and nursing thanks to the generous support from the Fell Foundation. Doctors specialising in pregnancy and childbirth taught the training course and the girls learned- among other skills- how to deliver babies, monitor blood pressure and provide full guidance for safe pregnancy and childbirth.
Zakia and Nahid are two young girls who took the course and who are now working in the countryside. They routinely visit and treat sick and pregnant women. They gather the women of the town or village and they teach and advise them about precautions to take for pregnancy. Among much other guidance, they teach the women to not marry very young, to eat lots of iron-rich food when pregnant and to not lift heavy loads. They also talk to the women’s families and advise them about not letting the women to do any kind of heavy physical labour and be mindful of them.
Their efforts have informed many women about how to go through pregnancy in a safe and sound way. The people of the villages are very happy with them and have come to respect and trust these girls. These girls have been hugely influential in the lives of women and their families.
Zakia and Nahid and the other midwives are active in the Badakhshan province and once a month they go to the nearest clinic or hospital to ask questions and further inform themselves about how to meet the challenges that they face in their work. Most of the girls trained by Mahboba’s Promise aspire to continue their midwifery and medical education in university. Also, their work and influence has encouraged many in the countryside to allow their young girls to go to school or continue their education.
The challenge before Zakia and Nahid and the other girls is great and formidable, but so is the dedication and determination of these young girls. Their work is literally life-saving. They are a promise of hope for families in the communities they work in.
Before being sponsored, Nafas Gul and her family were living with one of their relatives in a garage. She would move around to live with other people, sometimes paying rent and other times living there rent-free. At the time there was no one to work in her family and find food. Her life with her children was filled with sorrow and grief. She came to Mahboba’s Promise in 2004 with one of her four children needing medical attention.
In 2007, Nafas Gul started helping part time in Kabul orphanage and attending literacy classes in Hope House. Thanks to sponsorship she has been able to send her children to school. Through the support of Mahboba's Promise, one of Nafas Gul's daughters was able to study computer science at university. Her other children have been able to complete high school, which would not have been possible without sponsorship support.
To help ensure her daughter was able to stay at university, Nafas Gul participated in a tailoring course at Mahboba's Promise.
In 2012 Nafas Gul said: "I was born in Panjshir province. After my husband was killed in the war 1997 by the Taliban, we came to Kabul. I was 17 years old when I got married. I have 3 children. Now I am a tailor but the money I earn I use for my children's education. We have access to water. I have diabetes and need Mahboba's Promise to go to a good hospital for treatment and pay the expenses. My wish is that my children be educated well and help other people. By the help of Mahboba's Promise I have learnt tailoring at the tailoring project and I have tailoring shop at my house. By tailoring I manage my life and my children. Thanks for your support."
Nafas Gul has since become really talented at tailoring. By learning tailoring skills at Hope House she now has her own shop at her house and makes beautiful dresses for women. At first, Nafas Gul was able to pay for her children’s education and medical expenses but needed help to pay for her groceries.
Now the family can stand on its own feet and manage life. Nafas Gul is self-sufficient and no longer needs the support of Mahboba’s Promise because of the skills she was able to learn. She has been so grateful for the support of her sponsors and is happy to have a brighter future as an independent woman with educated children.
Hashim’s father and three brothers were killed by his uncle over a land dispute when he was very young. Hashim and his mother continued to suffer abuse at the hand of his uncle until they could move away to Kabul. Here they came to the attention of Mahboba’s Promise.
Hashim’s mother began to receive support through the Mahboba’s Promise outreach program. She struggled to find work because she is disabled and needs a walking stick to move freely around so the support from Mahboba’s Promise eased their transition into Kabul life.
Hashim was enrolled in the Kabul Hope House school in 2007 at the age of 7.
The trauma he had experienced in his past meant he struggled to focus in class. This caused him to drop down two years at school. His teachers persevered with him and his lessons and made sure he continued to progress, even if it was at a slower rate than other children his age.
Now Hashim is an energetic young man living in Off-Away House. He is also one of the participants in the Mahboba’s Promise confectionery training program. Throughout training he demonstrated a natural ability in pastry making. At the completion of his training program, Hashim wanted to continue learning and began an internship at the factory. He received on the job training in the production techniques of a range of pastries and other confectionery products. Hashim continued to gain practical work experience whilst continuing his school studies. When the position of production trainer became vacant at the factory, Hashim took on the role. He now works as a pastry chef and trainer in the factory and is able to provide support to his disabled mother.
Hashim works at the confectionery factory from 07:00am to 12:30pm each day. He collects the orders for the day and oversees the production of these. Once the orders are ready for distribution, he leaves the factory for school where he participates in afternoon lessons from 1:00-4:00pm.
His great ambition is to finish his schooling and go on to university as it is something he didn’t think he would ever be able to do. He is also very interested in the field of pastry making. He wishes to become a successful pastry chef so he can make sure his mother lives a comfortable life.
Sultana is ten years old and has three brothers. Her father is a simple man who works as a policeman. Unfortunately, her family could not afford to send her to school when she came to Mahboba’s Promise. Sultana comes from Abdara village in Panjshir Province and there are many girls like her. It is a very poor area of the country, and children are expected to help their parents to put food on the table. This is usually done through working in the fields. It is not an easy job to convince the village elders that, in the long run, everyone will be better off if the children receive an education. Those who are educated have the potential to secure a more highly paid job in the future and will be able to better support their family. And, in this traditional conservative region, the task of convincing them to educate girls is even more difficult.
But now, through sponsorship, Sultana has been able to receive everything needed for a good education: uniforms, stationery, books and transportation. Mahboba’s Promise has been able to convince the elders of the value of education for girls who can go on to help their communities by being trained in teaching, nursing, midwifery or even university degrees such as engineering.
At Abdara Girls School, Sultana now has the opportunity to pursue her dreams and become empowered by the knowledge of her rights. Being able to gain an education, especially as a girl, Sultana will have many more chances to attend university or become self-sufficient. This in itself is an amazing feat for a young girl in Afghanistan like Sultana.