Roxshana, mother of four in Kabul IDP camp
Roxshana, a 23 year old mother of 4 young children, has been widowed by the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan. Five months ago her husband went out to collect firewood, and was inexplicably struck by a stray bullet. Her home village had recently been besieged by fighting between militant groups and the Afghan security forces, and her husband - who did not fight for either side - appears to be one of the many thousands of civilian casualties caught up in Afghanistan’s protracted war. After the death of her husband, she fled with her extended family, including her father in law, to Kabul, to seek the relative safety the capital offers. But with that safety comes slum-like living conditions. She and her children now live in half of a dirty, makeshift shelter in the middle of one of Kabul’s informal settlements. “It’s so difficult here, we just have to take it day by day,” she said. “After my husband died, my dreams died with him.” Roxshana helps make ends meet by selling cheap plastic bangles, on a good day making up to US$2. This barely covers food for the family, let alone other essentials, like medical care. One of her children is chronically ill from water-borne diseases, which has kept him from attending the local school. “We are completely dependent on the help of others,” she said.
Photo credit: Janus Engel Rasmussen