In the process of the blanket and clothing projects we helped a lot of widows who had horrible stories to tell. They all looked twice their age, sick and tired. The region that we launched our project is probably one of the worst struck by war. For 23 years this region has been the battlefield against the Russians and the Taliban.

Bibi Sherin, is one of the widows who has seen and born too much of this war. You can see it on her face, in her eyes; her back which is bent. She is 46 years old. She lost her husband after only six years of marriage when the Russians assaulted their village in Kohistan, a city in Kapisa province. She had to face the hardship of raising her four sons by herself. All means of survival had been lost to her and it was a bitter time to raise her four children.

Sometimes she could manage to find food and sometimes not. She raised them single handedly in a village where work was hard to find and the only work available, farming, was beyond her strength, because farming was so laborious and time consuming. She would wash clothes or be a cook in the village but a lot of people in the village were very poor. She spent the dark and cold nights of winter with little or no food.

Life got a little bit better as the children got older. Although there was still war and the fear of children being forced to fight by this commander or that commander or by the government, they were old enough to help their mother and help make enough money to survive. None of them had a chance to go to school since this part of the country was the front lines that would shift back and forth; the Opposition forces and the communist governments would sweep through and destroy everything and kill. The situation went from bad to worse when Taliban militia took control of the majority of the country. Again, this region was the front line of battle this time between the Opposition forces and the Taliban.

When the Taliban advanced to this region, they devastated the villages and killed the villagers. All of the people in this region are from ethnic groups different from the Taliban but the same as the one of the Opposition groups. The Taliban went on a killing spree, accusing these people of being the enemy because of their ethnicity. Bibi Sherin’s four sons were beaten, tortured and then beheaded in front of her in her little home. She buried all four of them in her yard, digging the land with her weak hands for days and looking at the bodies of her sons that she worked so hard to raise. She had to look at them as their bodies became discolored and deformed as they decomposed. All four sons were farmers and had nothing to do with either side fighting the war, but she paid the price and does not know for what and for whom. The Taliban also had looted what little belonging that she had.

Today she is all alone. She looks at blue sky and the hard earth under her feet which holds her husband and her sons and tears drip down from her gloomy eyes; finding their way across her bony face and down to the earth to join the lives that she has lost. She thanked ARYA and YCDP for the opportunity to make the blankets; took her money and held it in her cracked dry hands saying that it had been a while since she was given what her work was worth.

She walked away slowly.






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