Before we lacked food every winter

When Dost Mohammad first heard about Mission East gardening project for women, he was against letting his wife Golshihra participate.  Now the kitchen garden is the family's pride.

When you talk with Afghan Dost Mohammad about the teaching of improved vegetable gardens and preserving of vegetables for poor village women, he is all smiles: "I 'm really happy about all the positive changes that the teaching has given my wife and our entire family. In the past we lacked food every winter, especially in January and February, but that is no longer the case. "

Initially, Dost Mohammad had a completely different approach to the learning process of his wife Golshihra.

"At first I was against that my wife was supposed to participate, but she convinced me that she could just try it a few days. Every time she had been away, she came home with new things and ideas, and it dawned on me that it would be good for our entire family if she continued to participate, so I gave my permission for her to continue. And now I have also told the other men I know that they should support the education of their wives, because it really makes a difference to the whole family's life," says Mohammad.

Depleted by the Civil War
The family, which in addition to Golshihra and Dost Mohammad consists of six children, is one of the village 's poorest. During the Taliban regime thirteen years ago they had to leave everything behind to flee to safer place. After the fall of the Taliban regime, the family returned to the village to rebuild their lives from scratch. 

Neither Dost Mohammad nor Golshihra have ever attended school, so the training in kitchen gardening with Mission East is Golshira’s first education.

Golshrihra explains: "We were taught to grow vegetables and Mission East gave us seeds to plant onions , cucumbers , tomatoes, pumpkins and many other things. Later we also learned how we could make tomato puree and jam and conserve all sorts of vegetables , so that they last longer."

Golshihra also learned how the vegetables that are left over can be sold in the market. "The course has given me the opportunity to buy food for my family. And now I know that a woman can work if she wants. Therefore, I urge other women to work hard and make changes in their families' lives,” says Golshihra.

The role of Afghan women
The traditional perceptions of the role of women in rural north-eastern Afghan society, women’s decision-making roles, both at the household and community level, are limited and any economic and income-generating activities which would take them outside the domain of their homes is generally not encouraged by the men.

Most rural Afghan women continue to have little to no access to basic services, to credit or even to culturally acceptable spaces for collective gathering.