Agricultural Education for Afghan Widows

Over the past three decades of violent conflict in Afghanistan, many thousands of women have lost their husbands to war and have been left to single-handedly support their families. While this is a huge responsibility no matter the context, it is all the more challenging in a war-ravaged country that affords few opportunities to women. That is why Cultures of Resistance supports PARSA, which since 1996 has focused on helping women earn a dignified livelihood.

Cultures of Resistance recently visited PARSA's Widows Garden project in Kabul. This pilot project was inspired by the experience of PARSA's former Director of Economic Programs Zarguna Hashimi. Like many Afghan women, Zarguna was widowed during the ongoing wars. Short on money, one day she took some radishes from her garden to the local market to trade for onions and potatoes. This success allowed her to continue providing meals for her family and inspired her to teach other women how to grow and sell crops.

Like PARSA's other programs—such as the Healthy Afghan Community, The Healthy Afghan Girl, and The Afghan Red Crescent Society—the Widows Garden project serves as a model for what women in the the country can do to improve their own livelihoods. The organization's ultimate goal is to help “each person to become a functional and contributing member of his or her family and the community."

PARSA hopes that the success of the Widows Garden will be replicated in other communities. As Afghans across the country struggle to rebuild their lives, one program participant confidently states, "In spite of how hard it is in Afghanistan . . . I believe in the Afghan people and their ability to make their country right."

Click here to visit PARSA's website, where you can read and watch videos about their other projects.

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