Burka,And,Barbwire

A Woman’s Work

In 2009, Jean and I went to Afghanistan for two reasons.

The first was to see the Kabul Widow’s Feeding Program in action and raise money for it when we returned.  It had been set up by Care Canada before the Russians arrived, before the Taliban arrived, before the Americans and the Canadians arrived.

Among Afghanistan’s 38 million people are two million widows. Among Canada’s 38 million people are two million widows. But that’s where the similarities end.

If you’re widowed in Afghanistan (and chances are you’ll be widowed young), you’ll spend the rest of your short life on the street, abandoned by your husband’s family, with no skills and unable to read or write, and likely with a baby in your arms. Even in this deeply misogynistic country, it doesn’t look good to have widows starving on the streets, so the various governments have let NGOs feed them with money raised in the west and aid workers on the ground in Kabul and Kandahar.

There were six of us in our group, plus our Care Canada rep, plus a security person from the Canadian Embassy.

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