Celebrating Moms in Afghanistan for Mother’s Day

Our teams bring food security and nutrition programs to Afghanistan for mothers and their families.
Zainab feeds her 3-year-old grandson vegetables from their home garden. Photo: ACF-Afghanistan
Zainab feeds her 3-year-old grandson vegetables from their home garden. Photo: ACF-Afghanistan

Action Against Hunger loves moms. Our expert field staff understands that a mother’s health and well-being can affect the health of her children, and even her whole community. That’s why so many of our programs focus on treating, educating, and empowering mothers, so they can become healthy themselves and help their families thrive. In honor of Mother’s Day, we are sharing the story of two moms who benefitted from our efforts in Afghanistan.

Meet the Moms: Mahbooba and Zainab

Mahbooba has two young children. She lives with her husband and his mother, Zainab, in a village in Samangan Province, Afghanistan. Their family did not always get enough to eat, or get enough of the right kinds of food. They are not alone. In Afghanistan, more than half of the population suffers from chronic malnutrition because they don’t get enough variety in their diet, and a third of the population lacks regular and safe access to healthy food. Frequent natural disasters, low household incomes, and lack of education about proper nutrition and farming techniques all contribute to the country’s extremely high rates of malnutrition. 

In this family’s village, and in nineteen others, we’ve implemented programs that promote home gardening and nutrition education. Mahbooba and other women in her village participated in our classes, where they learned proper nutrition and hygiene habits. Through these sessions, she learned the importance of breastfeeding, and that as a nursing mother, her own diet is critical to her children’s health.

“I used to feed my baby bread soaked in tea, but Action Against Hunger taught me that breastfeeding is better for my baby. I also learned that I must eat nutritious food to keep myself healthy while nursing. Since I started eating the vegetables that my husband harvests, I noticed that I am producing more milk than before.”
– Mahbooba, Mother of two, Samangan Province, Afghanistan

Home Gardening for Healthier Families

Our teams faced many challenges implementing a home gardening program in this area because so few people had previous gardening experience. Mahbooba’s husband Mohammed had never gardened before, but we helped him establish a garden plot and grow vegetables, which Mahbooba can now properly prepare because she attended our cooking classes. Zainab keeps the seeds from the vegetables they harvest so they can plant more next season. The family now has enough food that they can share some of their crops with neighbors.

“At first, I was hesitant to get involved in home gardening. I have never done it before and I thought vegetables would never survive in our climate. But I was wrong. When we started seeing the plants grow, I was really happy. I never imagined this abundance coming from our little home garden. I don’t worry about my family having food through the winter anymore. I am thankful to the people who made all this happen.”
–Mohammed, Mahbooba’s husband, Samangan Province, Afghanistan

Now in Samangan Province, almost all families have regular access to a variety of essential foods. Our work in this area has helped Zainab and Mahbooba, and many other mothers like them, take better care of their families. You can help us empower even more mothers around the world by buying a Mother’s Day gift from our Virtual Gift Catalogue or by making a donation in honor of your mom.

Tell Us What You Think

Are you celebrating Mother’s Day with a family meal? How will your meal be different from the family in this story’s? How will it be similar?


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