We would like to extend our deepest gratitude for all of your generosity in supporting our COVID-19 Relief for Afghan Educators and Students. We have raised over $27,000 in funds to support those that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We wanted to share with you the Afghan Learning Academy’s (ALA) experiences and the reach of your support.

The situation in Afghanistan has long been difficult, but the global pandemic has made a deteriorate situation worse. A national lockdown prevents many family members from leaving the home to gather necessary materials, and the situation is even worse for families with no adult males to support. The National Health Minister estimates nearly 80% of the country will be infected, yet, Afghanistan lacks the necessary health infrastructure and materials to mitigate the crisis and cure the sick. Any financial and health support from the government still neglects the most needy and vulnerable.

ALA has a 10-person COVID-19 Task Force dedicated to collecting and distributing life saving materials. The Task Force is led by Haji Nasir Ahmad Khan, who has been working with ALA since 1988, and Dr. Azam Azami official member of Kandahar Health department Task force. Other members of the team include three engineering professors at Kandahar University and local volunteers.

Thousands of families need immediate support across the country, yet we had to distribute and utilize our limited resources in the most effective and sensitive way possible. After mapping out which families in the poorest neighborhoods of Kandahar were in most need, the donations were distributed via cash or food supplies. We categorized need base on the following criteria:

   1– Widows and Orphans. Many do not have personnel or support to leave their homes to find money or go to a food distribution center. For example, we came across a family of 6 women and only one male aged 5, who is the sole bread winner and and physical support the family has. Without him, the family would have nothing. For families like this, we took the materials directly to their homes.
    2– Daily Wage Earners. Most of Afghanistan, and Afghan youth, consists of daily wage earners who have not been able to work due to the national lock-down. The suspension of pay has left these families without financial stability and ability to purchase essential items.
    3– Poor Teachers and Education Department Employees. The salaries of educators in Afghanistan are extremely low and contingent upon schools being open. Given the lock-down, their salaries are paused.

Cooperation to support the most vulnerable and needy is challenging, but your support has helped make a difficult situation easier for some. Getting through this pandemic requires collective action to help the poor, who will bear the brunt of the worst economic impact and recovery from this crisis.

This Ramadan, we urge you to continue supporting Afghanistan’s educators and poor survive this pandemic. Together, we can ensure that a lockdown in Afghanistan does not result in headlines of starvation and does not push millions into extreme poverty. Together, we can make a dire situation a little better.