As a young man, Ahmad earned an income through agriculture and livestock, providing enough money to help support his parents and pay for his marriage. However, his ability to care for himself and his family was suddenly taken away when he stepped on a landmine while digging an irrigation canal. His sister, who was nearby at the time of the accident, was also injured in the blast. His injuries were severe and he was hospitalised in Iran for two months. His family had to sell all their sheep and borrow almost 100,000 Afs to pay the medical expenses. Heavily in debt, Ahmad's family had little choice but to migrate to Iran where he remained for nine years.
Six years ago Ahmad returned to Afghanistan, however, he was unable to use his land or graze livestock because his land was contaminated with landmines and other unexploded ordnance. In order to survive, he had to send his sons back to Iran to work. This meant his family had to live apart for many years, which made Ahmad feel deeply ashamed.
Since HALO completed clearance of the land around Ishaq Soliman Village, Ahmad's situation has improved dramatically. His sons were able to send enough money for him to buy over 120 sheep, which he now grazes on his land. These sheep, which have a combined value of around 600,000 Afs, provide his family with milk, yoghurt, ghee and cheese. In addition, Ahmad has approximately four jeribs (8,000 sqm) of land, which enables him and his family to earn between 15,000 - 20,000 Afs per year by growing wheat, barley, cumin seeds and melons.
HALO’s clearance work has also made it possible for Ahmad and his family to safely forage for firewood, which they use to bake bread and cook their food.
Perhaps the greatest benefit that HALO clearance has brought to Ahmad has been the return of his sons from Iran. Without the threat of landmines and ERW, Ahmad and his sons can graze their sheep and cultivate their arable land free from the risk of injury or death. With the money they make, all three of Ahmad’s sons have been able to marry and will no longer have to migrate to Iran for work.
HALO’s clearance work in Herat Province is funded by DFID Afghanistan.