Disabled role model woman

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Khiaro, 40, is a mother of six children (4 boys and 2 girls) She was the first woman in her village to receive beekeeping trainings and a bee box from World Vision four years ago. She is also disabled. She got injured on her right leg, when her neighbor’s house was bombed 25 years ago.  Now her right foot doesn’t have movement. Khiaro says, “my husband and children didn’t believe in my capability, but I proved them that people with disability can work and earn.” Four years later, Khiaro has eight bee boxes and has become one of the honey suppliers to the local market.  She earned 60,000Afg ($1,100) this year, but she expects 100,000 Afg ($2,000) next year.

Khiaro is a champion and role model for her villagers. She inspired many other women, especially women with disabilities, to work and contribute to the economy of their families. Khiaro is very thankful to World Vision.“World Vision turned my black life [without hope] into paradise,” she says.

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“Bees changed my life completely. I had very miserable and hopeless life. My family was thepoorest one in the village four years ago. We did not even have enough food to eat. My children used to go to bed without food at night. When my children were asking for food, I was speechless and didn’t have any answer to them. This was very painful for me.

“My husband worked with the government, and his monthly salary was 5,000 Afg ($100 (USD)). He spent this money on sugar, cooking oil, oil for lantern, bread and treatment of the children when they get sick. To meet the needs of the family, my husband borrowed about 50,000Afg ($1,000) from shopkeepers, friends and relatives. 

“The worst moment of my life was the day, when my youngest daughter, Monira who was only 2 years old was sick. She was fighting between death and life. We didn’t have any money to take her to the doctor and get medicine because people didn’t want to lend us any more money. They knew we couldn’t pay them,” she recalls, tears were dropping from her eyes. 

“[At this time], my two older sons (Jawid, 14, and Farid,12, left school and started working in an auto repair shop. They earned 1,000 Afg ($18 (USD)) per month. 

“At night, I crying in bed and prayed to God to help my family to get rid of this painful life. God is great. He heard my prayers,” she remembers. 

“I heard that World Vision trains women on bee keeping and distributes bee boxes to them to extract honey and increase their income. I thought this is the best opportunity for me to help my family,” she recalls.

“But, the problem was this, people in the village didn’t allow their women to get training on bee keeping and receive bee boxes. People thought honey is a dirty substance and it is Haram (forbidden by Islamic law) to eat,” she explains. “Therefore, no one got interested in beekeeping.” 

“Luckily, my husband agreed with me to receive bee boxes and training on beekeeping from World Vision. I was the first person who received training and bee boxs in the village. I knew that what people said about honey was wrong,” she says.  

“When I received the first bee box, I was really scared of bees. My children locked themselves in the home so as not be stung,” she remembers.  “Little by little, I got used to  them. The World Vision people trained me on honey extraction, feeding technics, how to select the Queen and manage the hive. I also received some necessary equipment, like gloves, a smoke pump that is used to disperse bees, and clothes for covering the face and body.”

“At the beginning, I had only one bee box. Now, I have eight. Some people hate bees, but I love bees and treat them like my children. They are very dear to me. When something bad happens to my bees, I cry for them,” she says.

“Bees are my champions, they are the reason my life is happy and colourful. I am not the same person I was four years ago. My children were able to go back to school, they don’t have work at the auto repair shop anymore. When I see my children going to school and enjoying their lives, this means every thing for me.” 

“I earned a lot of money from selling honey. I am one of the honey suppliers to the local market. Last year I collected 30 kg honey and I earned 60,000Afg ($1,100 (USD)). I believe I will earn even more, up to 100,000 Afg ($2,000 (USD)) this year, because there is no severe drought in the area and there are a lot greens, like flowers and trees, where bees can feed.”

“The most important part of my work is that I helped my children to go back to school and they don’t have to work at the auto repair workshop anymore. The only dream I have that is to help my children complete their studies. Thank God, I see my dream is coming true.”

“Now, I have my own money and I am not dependent to my husband’s salary anymore. Instead, .my husband is dependent to me,” she says with smile. 

“I paid all the money we borrowed from people. In addition, I bought some jewelry for myself, a laptop for my son, a watch for my husband, a carpet for our house and clothes for children and myself,” she says.

“In the past, people (especially my relatives) were laughing at me because I am disabled. Now, they respect me. I showed others that even people with disabilities can work and contribute to their families.”

“I have to say that bee keeping is the best job for me and for the rest of the women here, because there is no need to go outside of the house or to be in touch with men. When people noticed that honey is a very good food and beekeeping is a good business, they forgot their words about honey being dirty. They all rushed to World Vision and received bee boxes. Now there are many women in the village who keep bees and contribute to the economic conditions of their families.” 

“I thank World Vision for providing me with this opportunity to work, earn and support my [family] above all because I managed to send my children back to school.” 

Additional Interview with Khairo’s Husband

“My name is Sayed Hamed. I am 40 years old. As my wife mentioned, my salary was not enough to meet the needs of family. When my wife told me that she wanted to get bee boxes from World Vision, I laughed at her and I told her, ‘don’t forget that you are disabled and can’t do it’. She said, ‘I am sure I can do this. “She was confident enough about this and told me many good reasons and convinced me.” 

“I have to admit that I was wrong about her ability. I was thinking that she is disabled and can’t do this, but she proved me and others wrong.

“She is the hero of my family and role model for other women. I am really proud of her.

Scene setting 

I interviewed her in the family’s setting room. It was clean and windows covered by nice and expensive curtains. While she was speaking to me, her husband and three children were setting close to her. The family’s youngest daughter was setting in the corner of the room, eating honey with tea.

Project Background 

Beekeeping activities introduced to Badghis province by WV-AFG in 2006 have proven to be an effective and easy income-generation tool for women, with a high profit margin. The beekeeping project aims to improve the economic status of households in Qala-i-now, the capital city of Badghis province, through the introduction of beekeeping for income generation.  Beekeeping neither requires a substantial amount of inputs at the commencement of activities, nor demands much time during implementation.

There is a demonstrated, sustainable market for honey in Badghis. Beekeeping is especially suitable for women to implement, as it is home-based. Although women are the primary beneficiaries of the project, WV Afghanistan has also trained male household members to provide them with support.

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