The plains of Kandahar, Afghanistan, bask under a relentless sun. Yet, its warmth fails to melt the icy fear gripping Shebnam, a mother cradling her six-month-old son, Moqadas. Ravaged by severe acute malnutrition, Moqadas fights a silent battle, while despair whispers in Shebnam’s ear, threatening to extinguish the last embers of hope.
But amidst the bleakness, a beacon ignites. The Afghanistan Humanitarian Trust Fund (AHTF), an initiative by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) established and managed by the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), stands on the ground, ready to offer a lifeline to mothers like Shebnam.
“This is a landmark agreement,” declared HE Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser, President of IsDB, after witnessing the signing of a food assistance agreement between AHTF and the World Food Programme in May 2023. “It allows us to address the severe food insecurity facing the most vulnerable families in Afghanistan. We are on track to providing assistance to around 38,000 Afghans, laying the foundation for self-reliance and a brighter future.”
Dr. Al Jasser expressed his sincere gratitude for the $10 million contribution from King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) to AHTF, a testament to Saudi Arabia’s unwavering generosity. He also thanked the Saudi Fund for Development for contributing $20 million to AHTF.
“It is a major act of kindness that ignites hope,” stated Eng. Mohammad Alsaati who oversees AHTF.
This hope finds its way into the hands of Shebnam and Moqadas in the form of life-saving RUTF (Ready-to-Use-Therapeutic-Food) provided by AHTF and funded by KSRelief. “Seeing the impact of these interventions fuels our dedication,” Eng. Alsaati said. “KSRelief’s contribution has empowered us to reach the most vulnerable, one life at a time.”
The transformation is nothing short of miraculous. Within weeks, Moqadas’s laughter fills their home once more, a melody of life regained. His story, however, is but a single ripple in the vast ocean of lives touched by AHTF and KSRelief.
Across Afghanistan, the narrative is being rewritten. In Helmand Province, AHTF-funded workshops equip farmers with sustainable agricultural practices, empowering them to nourish not just their families but the entire community. “The land used to hold us captive,” says one farmer, cupping plump wheat grains. “Now, thanks to AHTF training, we feed ourselves and the market.”
In Kabul, the thirst for clean water is quenched by AHTF initiatives. Young girls, their eyes sparkling with the promise of education, pump crystal-clear water from a newly installed well near their homes. “School was a distant dream,” one whispers. “Now, it’s just a few steps away.”
Empowerment echoes even stronger in Herat, where AHTF-backed vocational training mends shattered lives. A widow, once drowning in despair, now stands tall, running her own tailoring business. Her needle threads not just clothes but a tapestry of self-reliance.
“Women’s empowerment isn’t just economic,” says Eng. Alsaati. “It’s the bedrock of a resilient Afghanistan.” Through AHTF, IsDB has built bridges of collaboration, paving the way for a brighter future for local communities across the country.
The scars of conflict run deep, resources are scarce. Yet, amidst the hardship, the Afghan spirit shines with unwavering resilience. “We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Afghan people,” Eng. Alsaati states, his voice ringing with commitment. “With AHTF and partners like KSRelief, we are boosting our commitment to walk alongside them, every step of the way.”
As Moqadas’s chubby cheeks, a testament to life regained, nuzzle against Shebnam’s shoulder, her eyes meet yours, a silent gratitude echoing in their depths. This is not just a story of life-saving interventions and economic opportunities; it’s a rewrite of Afghanistan’s narrative – a tale of resilience, hope, and a future where children like Moqadas can laugh freely, dream boldly, and build a nation anew.