ZOA is departing Afghanistan and leaves behind a lasting legacy. In practical terms, we dug thousands of water wells and built dozens of schools. More importantly, we helped families get on their feet again by giving them hope and a fresh perspective. Several Afghan colleagues share about ZOA’s impact and thank the many donors and supporters.
“From the bottom of my heart, I want to tell all the supporters, students, churches, entrepreneurs, and donors: thank you very much. You have truly helped us make a difference in the lives of very many people and many families”, says Narges, our Afghan project coordinator for women’s self-help groups and our work with the women’s prison in Sheberghan. “Women who might, for example, not be allowed to go out or who were passive themselves were encouraged and cheered along. Now they want to actively participate in their community and even dare to leave their village. I hope to work in other villages to achieve the same results.”
You have truly helped us make a difference in the lives of many people and many families"
“I think it is important to look at women’s skills and talents and work with those,” adds Parisa, project coordinator for self-help groups in Kabul. “This is how lives can change. I know from personal experience how difficult life can be, but we all suffer. That is why it is good to work together and forge ahead together. Because only together we are strong.” This idea reminds Parisa of a poem by Saadi Shirazi (translated into English):
Human beings are members of a whole
In creation of one, essence and soul
If one member is afflicted with pain
Other members uneasy will remain
If you’ve no sympathy for human pain
“Thanks to ZOA, women not only gained more self-confidence, but their lives were also changed in practical ways. Hundreds of women followed vocational training and started small businesses with joint funds from their self-help groups. Moreover, the members of ZOA’s team got to learn a great deal from this aid organisation.”
Mir Afzal, an engineer in Sheberghan, confirms this. “ZOA taught me how to care for my people and my land. I gained social skills in how to build and maintain relationships, for example with local leaders. This is very important for anything you wish to accomplish.”
ZOA colleague Ehsan, a logistics employee in Sheberghan, was also enormously motivated to help his people. “I was moved to see people in one village who had to walk five kilometres for a jerrycan of water. That is not good! Water is a matter of life and death.” Thus, Ehsan is very happy that he could help build water wells and set up water pumps. He recalls another important project where a bridge was being built. “The bridge connected at least ten villages with each other. Villagers used to have to travel by donkey over difficult terrain, but the bridge made things much easier for them.”
Some local colleagues have now launched their own organisations to continue the work, to bring dignity, respect, and well-being to the people and build up the land. “Changes are coming step-by-step,” says Narges. “We hope that Afghanistan will bloom”, says Parisa with enthusiasm.