Afghanistan’s Displaced Women and Girls.

Afghanistan’s Internal Displaced People’s camps are miserable places. Children play in filthy and rubbish-strewn areas alongside stray animals, unemployed men wander around idle and frustrated, and there is little access to running water or appropriate hygiene facilities.

There are over 800,000 internally displaced Afghan people, forced from their homes by conflict and natural disasters, and, with thousands more being displaced every week, the situation is at crisis point.

Women and girls are rarely seen. Due to cultural norms, they are often required by their families to stay secluded inside their homes – homes that vary from a cramped, one-room mud shelter to  a simple tarpaulin tent, too small to stand up in.

Afghan women lining up to receive winter relief assistance by the UNHCR in Kabul [Reuters]

In Afghanistan, women already face significant challenges with deeply conservative values and a lack of protection for their rights, and those who are internally displaced are even more unlikely to have access to basics like education, healthcare and work.

When interviewed, 71 per cent of the displaced women and girls reported that they had never attended school at all. In fact, only 40 percent said they were allowed to leave their tiny and ramshackle dwellings to visit friends, and only half said they were allowed to visit a doctor when they fell ill.

Many said that they eat only one meal a day – typically just bread – and nearly half of those interviewed are forced to buy food on credit. They also reported suffering high rates of domestic abuse, typically at the hands of their husbands, brothers, and mothers-in-law, and were more at risk of being forced into marriage from a young age.

For desperately poor IDP families, young women can represent a form of income when a suitor is able to pay a dowry. One woman told that girls “are being sold in exchange for money like animals … we are often sold to widowers, blind men, disabled or old men and we have no choice to refuse marrying them”.

  • Pray for the thousands living in internally displaced people’s camps in Afghanistan. Pray for an improvement in conditions, especially for women and children.
  • Pray for an end to the conflict in Afghanistan that has forced so many to leave their homes.
  • Pray for Women and girls in Afghanistan, to have access to education, healthcare and to be seen as people in their own rights.
  • Pray for women and girls to come to know their value and beauty in the eyes of their Father God and  to hear and accept the Gospel.

Isaiah 62 vs 3: “You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God”


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