BCT is supporting a widow’s independence scheme where support is given to needy widows and their children through immediate food and clothing aid.
Afghanistan has one of the highest numbers of widows (proportionate to the total population) in the world, owing to the catalogue of armed conflicts that have beleaguered the country for over two decades. There are over 1.5 million widows out of an estimated 26.6 million people in Afghanistan.
The average age of an Afghan widow is just 35 years old, and 94 percent of them are unable to read and write. About 90 percent of Afghan widows have children to support, and the average widow has more than four to look after. To survive, many Afghan widows weave carpets, offer alteration and tailoring service , beg in the streets or, horrifyingly, even engage in prostitution.
Lack of basic shelter, lack of food and earning a living are among the most pressing issues for widows. During winter, when fuel and food costs increase, female-headed households become highly vulnerable.
BCT is determined and committed to alleviating the desperate situation of these women and their children. Self– Sufficiency is encouraged by the gifting of 5 sheep per widow and the introduction of sheep rearing skills so families can become self-sustaining through the consumption and selling of surplus milk, cheese, yoghurt, wool and meat. Furthermore, long term sustainability is enabled by enlarging the flock through the breeding of the sheep.
So far BCT have supported over 2000 widows in Afghanistan and plan to continue this work and extend the project to other countries such as India.