Gul Ahmad dealing with the aftermath of conflict in that he cannot get enough to eat

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

“I used to tell my kids that the meal was ready, on its way, and we'd get to it soon. Keep silent; we'll get to it. I used to do [this] to make my children calm.”

These are the heart-wrenching words of Amir, a father in Afghanistan, who has to tell his children that food is on the way, even when it isn’t.

Gul Ahmad is Amir’s 13 year old son, and for 12 years he has lived amidst the constant upheaval of war, forced to flee from one place to another. Now, he is dealing with the aftermath of conflict in that he cannot get enough to eat.

For children living in Afghanistan, conflict, violence and displacement have been an inevitable feature of childhood. But even after the most intense phase ended in 2021, the family has grappled with soaring food scarcity and forced displacement, which is making it impossible for Gul Ahmad to return to normal.

Gul Ahmad used to go to school and study religion, but being on the move meant he had to abandon his studies and focus on helping the family. Gul Ahmad now works as a shepherd tending the family’s goats and sheep. These used to generate a little income for purchasing food, but now that drought has caused livestock prices to plummet, the family has to sell at least three or four animals just to get some flour, oil and rice.

It’s an unsustainable cycle that the family cannot maintain and the tragic impact of poverty that too many people are trapped in because of conflict. Right now, more than half of Afghanistan’s population relies on humanitarian aid – higher than ever before - and almost 40% of the country does not get enough to eat each day.

The fallout from years of conflict has led to an escalating hunger crisis, surpassing the available funding and assistance.

World Vision has been working in Afghanistan for 20 years undertaking a range of humanitarian responses, but the most critical right now is providing emergency nutrition via mobile health clinics.

Through this, Gul Ahmad and his family receive essential supplies, including flour, rice, beans, oil, and salt, acting as a vital lifeline against malnutrition. Regular health check-ups provide further support, offering hope for the family to regain stability in the face of adversity.