How much is your daughter’s life worth?
That should not be a question anyone should ever have to ask themselves. Ever.
Unfortunately, you need only travel about 5000 km from where I am currently writing this, to find many Afghan families who face this heart-breaking question every day.
Such is the level of famine, that these families are having to sell their daughters to feed their other children. The older daughters (8–9 years old) can sell for 4000 USD whilst the younger ones (4–6 years old) sell for as little as 550 USD. Some families negotiate a respite, keeping their daughters with them before handing them over to their future husband’s families. Others have handed their daughters over, never to see them again.
I have heard accounts from different associations of mothers begging in the streets for someone to take their baby, pressing the child into the arms of strangers, such is their desperation. How can we even begin to imagine the heartbreak these families are facing? Selling their own flesh and blood as the only way to survive. Sealing their daughter’s fates before they are even old enough to comprehend.
Reliving past tragedies
It is hard to believe that, in 2022, the Afghan population is reliving its nightmarish past. I remember reading Khaled Hosseini’s beautiful but heart-wrenching novels that depict the shocking truth of the past decades in Afghanistan and the horrors that its population endured under the previous Taliban. Today, the population is not only suffering from mass migration due to climate induced drought but is also enduring the new reign of the Taliban. Mostly reliant on international aid to help support widespread unemployment and poverty, the population now faces acute hunger as international funds are blocked from flowing to the country.
Will you help save a few young girls?
From the safety of my home, I started thinking. How can I help? What can I do? I am not a hero, I am not an activist, I am not an influencer. But I do believe that anyone can cast a stone to start a ripple effect. Raising a few thousand dollars could help feed these families over the long winter months and enable these young Afghan girls to stay with their families. So let me ask, will you help? Can we avoid at least a few families having to put a price on their daughters?
Benazir, the mother in the photo, wanted to sell her 5-year old daughter, Fereshta, out of pure despair. She has since received help to pay her rent and receive food from the association Hope for Afghan Women, enabling her to keep her children.
Please visit https://gofund.me/8adbabb3 to share any contribution you are willing to make, however big or small.
All funds will be directed to the Hope For Afghan Women organisation, a non-governmental, non-political and non-profit organisation: https://hopeforafghanwomen.com
Since the arrival of the Taliban, Hope for Afghan Women has reoriented their support to emergency aid, buying these families monthly reserves of flour, oil, sugar and coal to survive as well as paying rent (approx. 100 USD/month for a family of 6). The association has also drawn up several contracts with families to ensure that they do not sell their children whilst they are getting this support.
Please feel free to share this article with your families, friends, and social networks to help as many families as possible. Thank you so much for your support!
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” Mother Teresa (thank you @Louise LeGat for sharing this beautiful quote with me).