Involved for a better future

From Faisal Haidari

Khadija Samet has been working as a local project manager for the Cap Anamur midwife training in Herat for about six months. The experienced and well-known midwife in Harat is an asset for us in every way. The desire to participate in the project of Cap Anamur rose through her husband Soleyman Samet.

The 32-year old has himself worked for Cap Anamur for three years: nine years ago he built a district hospital together with us is Gulron, one of the most secluded rural areas of the Herat province. As a Persian-English translator, he acted as my right hand and significantly contributed to the success of the project. The commitment of Soleyman was huge: together with us he survived a sandstorm that lasted for a number of days; when the roads were blocked due the snow, he was cut off from the capital of the province together with the team for several weeks; he donated blood in situations of medical emergency, and worked through many nights to provide the fastest possible medical care for the rural population. For Cap Anamur this loyal and capable colleague with his heart in the right place was a huge gain.

Soleyman told a lot about his work to his then-fiancée Khadija. In order to spare her the worries, he held back the information about the dangers he was exposed to due to the increasing instability of the safety situation. Today Soleyman lives in the outskirts of the town in a small, self-built house together with his wife and three children. The couple has adopted one of their children, a little boy, whose biological mother had died during the birth. In that night Khadija was on a shift, and the father of the deceased, a neighbour, whom she knew for a very long time, pleaded her to take care for the boy. He himself was too poor and discouraged to care for the baby. People visiting the Samet family, who do not know about the adoption, would never be able to distinguish, which is the adoptive and which is the biological son – the parents lovingly care for all three children.

Khadija, as a working, qualified woman, who manages her family and professional life equally, is a good example for our aspiring midwives, who partly come from quite traditional patriarchal family structures, lacking successful female role models in their villages. Being employed and avoiding becoming dependent from a breadwinner can often be decisive for the future of a young woman. It is even more important because girls and women in rural Afghanistan are often considered and treated as goods. For instance, forced marriages of girls, some of whom are very young, or the exchange of them in order to save on the bride wealth are common practices. To be born a girl in rural village of Afghanistan entails considerable risks – many of them experience violence, restraint and exploitation, and countless women die during the childbirth because there is no medical care available for them.

In addition to their professional qualification, we put hope in each of our trainees that thanks to their commitment in the villages, life quality of countless women and girls will be improved in the future – whether through birth control, prenatal care, birth assistance, nursing consultations, or advice on vaccination, hygiene and nutrition.

-> The cost, including teaching materials, accommodation and catering, amount to 3200 euros per training position – a good investment in the future of Afghanistan.