Fuel for Families

While those of us unfamiliar with the climate of the Middle East and Central Asia might assume that winters in the region are relatively temperate, this isn’t true for many parts of Afghanistan. In northern Afghanistan, the winter season brings very cold temperatures akin to the frigid cold of New York City or Boston. Helping families heat their homes throughout the winter is essential and worthwhile for Child Foundation. And it proved a particularly dire need in 2020-21.

In the winter of 2020-21, temperatures routinely dipped below freezing. There were many spells of chilling winds and snow. It was a harsh winter in northern Afghanistan and one of the coldest in recent years.

The Fuel for Families program, which aims to provide coal to families in northern Afghanistan with little else for heat in the winter, proved instrumental in helping families through these rough months. The fuel allowed families to stay warm and avoid other time-consuming, less effective, and safe ways of fighting the cold.

For many families in Afghanistan who don’t have access to fuel, they must have to resort to collecting thorn bushes or trash to burn. Frequently, this responsibility is shouldered by children in the family. 

Saifullah and his siblings only go to school half the day because they spend every afternoon searching rubbish heaps and garbage dumps for burnable and resaleable trash. Because their family cannot afford wood or coal, this is the only way they can cook every day and stay warm.

Naghi-o-allah is another such example of a young boy who sacrifices for lack of fuel. He spends hours each day collecting thorn bushes. His family also cannot afford coal, and though thorn bushes burn up quickly, the family has little else they can do. As a result, he must collect a lot of thorn bushes. Such a time-consuming and labor-intensive task pulls him away from school and study time. You can learn more about how his family tries to get by in this video:

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