|Mariam’s story comes from a programme run by Hagar Afghanistan, Empowering Women and girls toward Economic Participation (EWEP). An Afghan women’s right to safe and sustainable work is almost non-existent, especially for those with backgrounds of violence and exploitation. EWEP seeks to bridge the gap for survivors to enter the formal workplace with confidence, sound employability skills and positive attitudes. A pre-employment skills preparation course, personal development workshops, and on the job training and job placements in supportive work environments are all elements of the EWEP programme. Together, these services are helping to provide survivors with dignity, self-sustainability, and choices for their future.
There was a time in Mariam’s life when she feared for the future of her family, she said it looked nothing but dark. Her husband was a drug addict, and the more desperate he got for money to fuel his habit, the more dangerous he became. He even tried to sell her children, and she lost all hope of having economic stability and a happy family. But thanks to her incredible determination, and the help of an NGO focused on Women’s rights who referred her to Hagar Afghanistan, Mariam’s life changed.
The Empowering Women for a Better Future program was where it all started for Mariam. She received counselling, learnt basic English, and started working as a cleaner and a cook. Mariam’s progress didn’t stop there. Through career counselling provided by Hagar Afghanistan, she decided to attend Midwifery school and in January of this year, Mariam graduated as a Midwifery assistant. She now works in a local hospital bringing new life into the world. Now, Mariam is able to support her family on a stable salary. Mariam’s life change is helping her to help her husband, and in turn, her whole family. She says that she trusts herself, and that she’s moving forward. With the support of Hagar, Mariam’s future no longer looks dark, but light.