Weaving for bread: a widow’s story

This article is available for historical purposes and may be out of date.

I am a widow from Qizil Qishlaq a village in Faryab province located in the north-west of Afghanistan. Several years ago, my husband was killed in a traffic accident, leaving me with our three children to provide for; a son who is twelve and two daughters ages seven and eight.

When my husband died, I had no income nor skills to find a job and surviving became a daily struggle. I couldn’t send my children to school to study, because there was no money for uniforms, notebooks, and pencils. I worked in other people’s fields just for a mouthful of bread. I climbed the hills and mountains around my home collecting and combing for firewood, and carried it home balanced on top of my head for cooking to keep us from freezing in the cold winters.

I was later identified, by the CDP-Faryab staff, as a candidate for their training school, Alacha Bafi Dokan. For three months I learned how to weave alacha, a long cloth my people use for eating on. It is weaved from cotton and rope. I can work from home, and sell my products in the village or in the district bazaar.

Because of this skill I am less anxious about how to provide for my family, I have an occupation. When I think about the future, I have hope because I have a way to bring up and educate my children.

Currently, I am teaching two other women in the village how to weave these cloths. So, I am able to serve my people through what I learned, as well provide for my children. I am grateful for IAM, and their work to help women become self-sufficient.