Imagine back to when you were 17 years old. Now think back to what your biggest worry was. Exams? Falling out with you friends? Which university to apply to?
What about fleeing your home to escape conflict? Looking after a family of five with no sustainable income? Having to live off just £2 a day (£60 a month)? Or even having no access to clean safe running water at home, risking your own health?
Here in the UK, alhamudlillah, we live in peace and stability. Our children go to school every day, often with very few responsibilities. At age 17, £60 could be the amount you might have earnt each week with a weekend job or received from your parents as monthly pocket money. What’s more, at home, we usually think nothing of turning on the tap to make wudu, loading the washing machine to wash that special outfit to wear over the weekend or filling up the dishwasher after a large family meal.
However, for many people in Afghanistan, such simple normalities are merely a dream. As one of the poorest countries in the world, only 23% of the population have access to clean, safe drinking water.* Whilst we always have a plentiful supply of clean water, families in Afghanistan face dehydration and the possibility of contracting water-borne diseases from drinking unsafe, contaminated water. The lack of access to clean water means farmers cannot maintain a stable livelihood and families struggle with everyday activities.
To alleviate such health risks, Muslim Hands has joined up with Turkish charity Hayrat Aid to provide two new dig-a-wells in the village of Qala-e-Janan Khan in Behsood district (Ningarhar) as part of our Safe Water Scheme. These wells will provide clean, safe water for drinking and multiple other uses, including watering plants and livestock. Due to the location of the village, the water is naturally well purified, inclusive of chlorine and other essential minerals. With over 35 families able to benefit from the project, meet one extraordinary 17-year-old who you’ve helped and see the difference you’ve made.
Abdul Raoof is 17 years old and has been living in Qala-e-Janan Khan for the last ten years. Born and raised in Afghanistan, Abdul and his family fled to Pakistan during the Russian war where they lived in a refugee camp.
Now back in Afghanistan and living in Qala-e-Jana, Abdul lives in a very difficult financial situation. Living with his five siblings in a house made of mud, he cannot dig a well to provide water for the family at home and fetching water means walking up to 3km every day - something which is not always possible. With five family members to look after, Abdul is reliant on handouts, receiving a monthly income of around £60. With no source of sustainable income and no water source close to his home, life was incredibly hard.
However, thanks to our Safe Water Scheme, Abdul and his family now have access to clean, safe water within 200 metres of their home. Abdul and his siblings can now access enough water drinking, cooking, washing and watering a small vegetable garden at home.
Alhamdulillah, Abdul’s family and whole community now have easy access to safe drinking water, meaning they now longer have to travel long distances each and every day for this essential life source. Sanitation has improved and the risk of contracting diseases such as measles and diarrhoea has also decreased as villagers now have clean drinking water with natural essential minerals. The project has changed the lives of Abdul, his family and the whole community. Thank you.
*Statistics: UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights