Imdad has lived in Peshawar, Pakistan all his life.
He has heard the story of his family’s journey from Afghanistan many times.
“Thirty years ago, there was a war in Afghanistan. My grandfather and grandmother, along with their son (my father) used to live in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan. They left their homes with heavy hearts and migrated to Pakistan in search of shelter.”
“There were just three of them when they came to Pakistan. Now my family has twenty-two members. I have three sisters and five brothers. We are happy in Pakistan. This country gave us shelter, and our kids are getting an education here that we never thought would be possible. We consider it our own country now.”
While he was born in Pakistan, Imdad is a third generation refugee, and does not have Pakistani citizenship.
Imdad has worked for Relief International for over a year, and plays an important role as a bridge between RI and the growing Afghan community in Peshawar.
Through Imdad, hundreds of newly arrived Afghan families have been able to access food baskets that contain essential items such as of flour, rice, pulses, spices, cooking oil, sugar, salt & curry packets. RI also distributes hygiene kits containing toothbrushes, soap, washing powder and other essential sanitary items depending on need.
“The food baskets bring relief for Afghan families because of unemployment and low daily wages. We distribute these baskets every three months. During my time at RI, I have assisted three times in this distribution cycle.”
The Afghan refugee community here have also been able to take part in RI’s COVID-19 prevention sessions.
“Relief International takes good care of Afghani and Pakistani women and children, particularly widows and orphans. RI’s programs give Afghan refugees an opportunity to work for the welfare of other Afghans.”
"The best thing about my work is that I was assigned to work in my own community area," says Imdad.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, our work was tough, as we had to follow many new rules for gatherings and meetings.”
“Together we helped people to come out of the fear of the pandemic.”
Zarghona’s family also moved to Pakistan from Afghanistan to escape the violence and conflict there.
“40 years ago my grandfather came here from Afghanistan. Since then we have lived in Pakistan.”
“When I was a kid, I was not admitted to the local government school. My father used to sell fruits. He worked day and night so I could go to a private school instead.”
Zarghona has worked for Relief International for three years. She support’s RI’s school kit distribution, making sure children in the community have pens, pencils, paper and book bags for school.
She also supports RI’s Education for out-of-school Afghan Children Project.
“At first, it was a challenge for me to convince people to send their girls to school. Then I told them about Relief International’s project; how they are providing free education, books and stationary for Afghan children studying in Pakistan’s public schools.”
"I told them to see me as an example of an educated and working woman," says Zarghona.
“They became familiar with my work and after sometime agreed to enroll their daughters. Around 90 children were enrolled because of my meetings with families. It is a bigd achievement for me and I will continue to grow this number with time.” says Zarghona.
Zarghona also supports RI’s Food Basket distribution and Hygiene Kit distribution schemes, as well as other health projects.
“I have three kids of my own. I drop my two elder kids at school in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon.”
“My youngest child is just a few months old. I take him along during all my RI sessions related to education or health. I am sure that he will be proud in the future that his mother helped many deserving people!”
“Today more than 500 Afghan women are just a call away for me!”
Relief International In Pakistan
Pakistan hosts more than 1.4 million Afghans who have been forced to flee their homes. Relief International is working to improve outcomes for these people by providing health, nutrition and educational programming in the communities they live in.