#12 Life in Afghanistan :: Amina

Don’t forget to be asking me your questions, so I can answer them all later in the series. Ask them in the comments, tweet me, or email me – the choice is yours. No question is too silly or too big. Also I’m open to ideas, so if there’s any particular aspect of life, or things, or people, or work, or whatever in Afghanistan that you’d like to know about – let me know, I’ll see if I can incorporate it.

Tomorrow I have an awesome guest post from an amazing lady! Make sure you’re here.



This is Amina

This is her story…

Amina fled the province she lived in for the safety of herself and her kids. Her husband had been killed, and with no one to look after them or travel with them they left early in the morning to set out for a new beginning somewhere they could be safe. Amina arrived with her five children and only the clothes they were wearing. They had no home, no food, and no possessions. Someone took pity on Amina and her children and rented half a room to them. Amina and her children would go out begging for food and money each day. Sometimes Amina’s eldest son would try and find some work in the market as a day laborer.

One day a development project started in Amina’s area which aims to empower women socially, economically, and politically; giving them the confidence, skills, and knowledge to be able to develop their lives and their communities. Amina was selected to join one of the women’s groups. She learnt some basic business skills and began to think about the future and about her children’s lives. Eventually she took a loan from her group to be able to buy some dry food goods to sell.

Amina and her eldest son would carry a small metal trunk of dry goods and try to sell them. From the profit Amina would pay back the loan, use some for her family’s needs, and save some – just as she had learnt to do. Once her loan was paid off and Amina realized that she could make money from selling things she decided she would expand. She began to rent the other half of her room, and used the built in cupboards as a make shift store. People could come to her to buy a bigger range of good, whilst her son was still able to sell on the streets. By now she was making enough money for her children not to beg everyday and so they would attend school and be educated.

Recently Amina has been able to rent an old garage that faces out onto the street. She uses this as a shop selling dried goods, and some fresh produce. She is making a profit from her business and has built up good relationships in her community. She is much more settled and happier these days and has more peace as she doesn’t have to constantly worry about if her children will survive another day. Her children are all in school and never go begging, instead they study hard and sometimes help in the shop. They are all clothed well and are able to keep warm in the winter.

Amina had the courage to start something that would help provide for her family. She has constantly learnt, been open to advice, and saved her money well; because of this she has managed to expand upon her small beginnings and establish something that will support her family for years to come.

The impact from Amina is bigger than this though. Everyone remembers when Amina came to town, how poor she was, how her kids would knock on gates begging for bread or change dressed in dirty rags. Now they look at her and see how her circumstances have changed, they are amazed, they are encouraged, they dream that their lives and their community might be better too.

Amina has not only built a better future for her children but she has also ignited hope in her whole community.

*Names changed to protect identities

This is part of the 31 Day series



7 Comments on “#12 Life in Afghanistan :: Amina”

  1. […] Day Twelve :: Amina (The lady who built a future) […]

  2. Amanda Hallas says:

    Such a great and encouraging story. May God multiply these sorts of initiatives throughout that barren land.

  3. Laurie Avery says:

    I’ve been weeping my way through this blog. I spent 7.5 years there, and though I had moments like the ones you describe, for some reason, all I remember are my failures, when I didn’t stop to hear the story, when I walked past the beggar. I was the nurse that everyone took to help out, and I loved every moment of that, but it wore me out until I had nothing left.

    • EJ Reading says:

      Oh sweet Laurie, I am so glad you found this blog. I KNOW KNOW KNOW that the impact you made in Afghanistan was great, and that your finest moments far outweighed any moments that seemed like failure. I know that because your name and legacy lives on. I have heard you talked about countless times from people who are honoring you and who are simply grateful that you are in their lives. And yes, I have heard that story of you being whisked off to India too… it left me with fear when I was med-evaced ha ha.

      Please don’t judge yourself too harshly. We all forget to listen to the stories, we all get too busy with our own agendas, we all get tired, and worn out, and lose hope, and wonder if any of it is ever worth it. Sometimes, it’s the right thing to walk past the beggar; sometimes it’s wise to not listen to the story when your heart and mind are already full to overflowing of stories.

      Praying you find healing and rest in these stories and that they remind you of all the positive impact you had, and of the good things Afghanistan gave you.

      • Laurie Avery says:

        Wow! That was both unexpected, and very uplifting. Thank you. And thank you for praying. When I wrote that yesterday, I was so emotional, that I forgot, I got married 6 weeks ago, so my name is now Moll instead of Avery! My husband has been an amazing instrument of healing that God is using. These stories are blessing me. We hope to get back there for a visit. One of my friends, as I was leaving last year said, “when you get married, bring your husband here, he will be like a brother to us as you are our sister, we won’t even cover our faces with him in the room.” It was the sweetest thing! Bless you and all you do. I hope to meet you someday!

        • EJ Reading says:

          not Moll as in one of the pakistan/UK brothers? What an honor to have your friends say that :) I hope I get to meet you and your husband some day – that would be great.

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