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My Name is Frishta

Isolation is deadly. Frishta lived with little support as she endured an abusive marriage.  

Neither Frishta nor her husband could read or write, limiting their job prospects and ability to earn money. To keep up with rent, they chose to live in a smaller house. 

In that cramped, closed space, Frishta found no peace. “I had an addicted husband who always beat me,” she said.  

There was nowhere for her to go inside her home nor outside. “I was really disappointed that there wasn’t anywhere or anyone from my life to give me some help,” Frishta mourned. “I was young and couldn’t go anywhere.” 

Like many mothers without a friendly shoulder to lean on, Frishta tried to make it work for a while. When she could leave the house, she would try to earn a little money for her young children by cleaning people’s homes or washing their clothes.  

But eventually, Frishta had enough of her husband’s abuse. Frishta took her children and made the brave choice to divorce her husband.  

“I didn’t get any support from my family,” she said. And making ends meet while caring for her children all alone was impossible. The loneliness proved dangerous. “I tried to kill myself many times,” she said, “but I just couldn’t leave my children on their own.” 

It was here, feeling backed into a corner once more, that Frishta finally found friendly advice. “I met my neighbor, who told me about the Women for Women International program’s enrollment. I decided to enroll myself.”  

Women for Women International’s program brings women together in groups of 25 so they can learn and go through a journey of transformation together. But most of all, when women come together, they break their isolation and realize that no women has to be alone.  

When Frishta came to pick up her hygiene kit, full of supplies to protect herself and her family from COVID-19, she shared with us the impact the program has had on her life. “Since enrolling, positive changes have come into my life, as well as my family member’s lives,” Frishta said. “I’ve learned I have rights, and now I’ve been learning about decision-making.” 

Although Frishta had little support during her darkest moments, she is determined to help women around her and share with them knowledge and resources. “I give health advice to other women in my village who also didn’t have an education,” Frishta said.  

Hygiene Kit Distribution
One of the hygiene kit distributions, where over 4,700 women received critical health and hygiene supplies

Frishta is one of many participants who received a hygiene kit, a priority need identified by our staff. Between a weak healthcare system and conflict fueling migration and spreading disease, many in Afghanistan are left vulnerable in the face of the pandemic. Women like Frishta are among the most vulnerable, with poverty and gender discrimination limiting their access to health care and resources to practice good hygiene that would prevent disease.  

She expressed appreciation for these resources because of the care and consideration that was shown towards her.  

“I want to thank all of the staff who worked hard to pack and provide these hygiene kits,” Frishta said. She shared the impact that sisterhood and the training have made in her life. “The violence that was in my home is now gone. I am living happily with my family.”  

Our COVID-19 Response

You can support women living at the intersection of gender discrimination, poverty, conflict, and crises like coronavirus.