Bees help family survive economic collapse in Afghanistan

"When Rustaq fell into the hands of the Taliban, the bees became my only means of supporting my family," said Zaidulkhair, who had received training and equipment for beekeeping from Mission East.

I read an amazing story from our work in Afghanistan today. A story that shows how important it is to provide people with a livelihood by teaching them to grow crops and keep livestock - or that which the wonderful news today is about: beekeeping.

Afghan father: 'My wife is ill; now I can take her to the hospital'

Mission East provides cash assistance to thousands of vulnerable people in Afghanistan. One of the recipients is Anwar, who has lost a leg and has eight children to support.

In the midst of political uncertainty and changing Corona variants, Mission East is working hard to bring aid to the most vulnerable in Afghanistan.

Afghans in crisis receive help to survive the winter

PRESS RELEASE: Mission East has just received over 23 million DKK from the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs for emergency aid in northeastern Afghanistan and in the border area near Tajikistan. The help includes provision of food, winter equipment and protection of girls, women and minorities.

Mission East distributes emergency aid in northeastern Afghanistan

Mission East has distributed blankets, soap and kitchen utensils to 412 displaced people in Takhar and Badakhshan provinces. 206 of the aid packages were distributed to mudslide victims in the Warduj district.

Since the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan in August, distress has escalated in the conflict-torn country. In addition to lack of money and supplies, the country has been hit by widespread drought, massive unemployment and a galloping Covid-19 pandemic.

Mission East in Afghanistan: We are cautiously optimistic

The Taliban is asking Mission East to continue development work in Afghanistan. "We will do so within the next few days if the Taliban guarantees our security," says Managing Director Betina Gollander-Jensen.

Afghanistan is in great uncertainty since the Taliban took over the country. Western powers withdraw, but Mission East remains in the country to support the vulnerable population.

Mission East's Afghan staff are safe

Mission East's more than 100 local staff in Afghanistan are staying at home while guards look after the organization's four offices. The programs are on hold but resume as soon as the Taliban can guarantee security.

Mission East stays in Afghanistan to meet the needs of the people

PRESS RELEASE: The Danish aid organization Mission East has been providing humanitarien and development aid in Afghanistan for 20 years. The project area is today under Taliban control, but Mission East continues its relief efforts, even though the Allies are withdrawing military aid on 11 September. "We will continue to meet the needs of the population despite the difficult conditions," says international director.

We help vulnerable Afghan families fight COVID-19


76,000 people in northeastern Afghanistan receive hygiene equipment from Mission East, which also provides information on how to best protect against COVID-19.

COVID-19 is spreading rapidly in Afghanistan, and communities that are already in a vulnerable situation due to conflict, internal displacement and extreme poverty are particularly at risk - and that risk is exacerbated by poor hygiene.

Mission East is working hard to reach and help as many people as possible in the Takhar and Badakhshan provinces of northeastern Afghanistan.

From point zero to the pinnacle of elite sports

Nadia Nadim has gone all the way. From fleeing the Taliban to becoming Denmark's female power striker and first Danish national team player with a refugee background. In this exclusive interview with Mission East she discloses what has given her the impetus to go after the trophy.

Finding solutions where there are none

The security situation in Afghanistan is the worst since the Taliban war started. Public infrastructure has collapsed, and even die-hard war correspondents are increasingly staying away. But how do ordinary Afghans handle the permanent state of emergency? The Afghans have an ability to find solutions where there are none, Mission East's experience shows.

"We sit here drinking tea and playing games. It's just a way to kill time because we're scared and powerless about what's happening in our country."

The walls saved the village

A village in northwestern Afghanistan used to be hard hit by floods that washed out crops as well as houses. Then Mission East helped the villagers build three protection walls to divert the water.

By Eng Habib og Nadir Faez, Mission East Afghanistan. Edited by Kim Wiesener, July 3 2017

Mohammad Nadir remembers his childhood in Malikha-e-Khetayan. The village near the Taloqan River in northwestern Afghanistan was surrounded by green fields, the hills nearby were full of trees and bushes, and the area was home to a variety of wild animals.

Afghan bio-briquettes conserve energy

In a remote mountain village in northeastern Afghanistan Mission East is teaching local women to make biological fuel by using cheap and available natural resources.

By Kim Wiesener and Line Højland, Communications Officers

Place some weeds and leaves in a 90 centimetres deep pit. Burn them carefully, take the semi-burned items out of the pit, mix them with soil and some water and shape them into round briquettes using a metal form.

Afghanistan today: She feeds her children by selling jam

Many families in Afghanistan go to bed hungry. Mission East is training women to support themselves and their families.

Sayerah, a 35-year old Afghan woman, remembers with horror the time before she started her own small business. “It was so awful and scary. My husband is a day labourer, but often there was no work, and it was difficult for us to get just one decent meal a day for our nine children,” she says. Sayerah could only dream of winter clothes and other necessities.

Afghanistan 2001: Food aid for a country on its knees

In October 2001, US and British Forces invaded Afghanistan and deposed the Taliban regime from power. This opened the door for international aid to the severely tested Afghan population, and Mission East started providing food aid that same winter.

By Line Højland, Communications Officer

Higher school attendance due to improved water facilities

Dehydration, abdominal pains and diarrhea were some of the many problems faced by pupils at a girls’ primary school in Rustaq district. With a new water scheme provided by Mission East the students no longer have to suffer from stomach disease and attendance has increased to nearly 100 per cent.

The fear of winter

Mohammad Sharif and his family used to be fearful of the three months of cold and severe winter in the Afghan mountains where they live. But with knowledge about effective methods for vegetable cultivation gained from Mission East, the family can now enjoy a balanced diet – also during winter.

Mission East intends to prevent disease among 4,000 Afghans af-fected by a major earthquake

Mission East hands out hygiene items to 500 families in northern Afghanistan, where latrines and water supply were damaged or destroyed by the massive earthquake on 26 October.

The Danish aid organisation Mission East is now helping 500 families in the devastated Badakhshan province in northern Afghanistan. The province was already ravaged by battles between the Taliban and Afghan government forces when a violent earthquake hit the area Monday afternoon on 26 October.

The Maid Started her Own Shop

Every day was a struggle against hunger for the 50-year-old widow Majabin and her five children. With help from Mission East, she has now started her own small food business.

Around 0.70 Euro per day and a single meal is what Afghan Majabin was paid to work as a maid in the house next door. It was not enough to buy food for her five children, all of whom suffered from skin diseases, had protruding ribs and constant stomach-aches because of malnutrition.

Mission East present in Afghanistan after massive earthquake

A massive earthquake struck Monday morning northeastern Afghanistan. Danish aid organization is present in the area and preliminary reports tell of collapsed schools.

Around 10 am CET an earthquake hit Afghanistan measuring 7.5 on the Richter scale. The epicenter is located close to Faizabad, the provincial capital of Badakhshan. As far away as Islamabad and New Delhi buildings were swaying and people rushed into the streets in panic.

Families fleeing fighting in northern Afghanistan

Mission East has distributed hygiene kits and installed latrines in IDP camp near Taloqan and Faizabad to prevent infectious diseases.

Last week Mission East staff in Afghanistan handed out 480 boxes of hygiene items to families who have fled the fighting between the Taliban and government forces in the city of Kunduz and other places in northern Afghanistan.

Good hygiene is the best medicine against bacteria

When Zarifah had to flee her village, there was no money for medicine and doctor’s visits when the children were sick. Mission East gave her a chance to improve her own and her family's health.

Zarifah is the mother of three and lives in a camp for internally displaced people (IDPs) in the northern province of Badakhshan in Afghanistan.

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. "

Now, Sayeed bakes 50 loaves of bread a day

Access to credit: Due to her situation, Sayeed was invited to participate when Mission East, in cooperation with local village councils, organized training for kitchen gardening. "I learned a lot about farming, sales and a healthy diet for children," Sayeed says. Later, Mission East received permission to help the women in the village to start self-help groups. The group members learn how to save up money together, and take loans from the money collected. The poor rarely have access to loans from a bank, because they cannot provide security.

More than 1.5 million Euros for Afghanistan

Once again, the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs supports Mission East’s work in the north-eastern part of Afghanistan.
Their help amounts to more than 1.5 million Euros for a project assisting the local population in the provinces of Badakshan and Takhar.

Signing Of A Contract At The German Embassy In Copenhagen

Two weeks ago, Mission East and the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs entered a second contract for assistance to the population in remote regions of north-eastern Afghanistan.

The contract was signed following a trip to Afghanistan in April 2011, where two representatives of the German Government had the opportunity to closely inspect the work of Mission East in remote villages in the area, and thus review the results of our first major project financed by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Beehive number 250

Mission East introduced the first beehive to the village of Pumbak in Afghanistan in 2006. Although some considerable initial training was required to introduce the basic skills and concepts of beekeeping - starting from the difference between bees, flies and mosquitoes - the project is now a great success. So far, these buzzing insects have provided 125 of the most vulnerable families (approximately 800 people in total) with a new opportunity to improve their lives. Satar and Naqsh, whose stories are told below, are just two of these people.


Mission East is sending team to Pakistan

Mission East is sending a team to Pakistan in order to determine the specific emergency needs that we can address and to discuss with local communities how we can work together for early recovery response – especially in rebuilding and securing livelihoods for the future.

The 2010 Pakistan floods began in July 2010 after record heavy monsoon rains. At least 1,600 people were killed, thousands were rendered homeless, and more than fourteen million people were affected. Estimates from rescue-service-officials suggest the death-toll may reach 3,000 victims.

Newly-formed cooperative helps beekeepers in Afghanistan

Excellent results with a beekeeping project in the Afghan province of Takhar encourages Mission East to take a step further to help its 50 apiculture beneficiaries create a business enterprise.

By Namik Heydarov, Province Manager, Takhar Province

The newly formed "Shohada Beekeeping and Agricultural Cooperative" will help beekeepers from the district of Chaal to market their honey both locally and in the district centre.

Hope from honey

Both Sohaila Khan, 25, and Maa Begum, 50, lived in extreme poverty in northern Afghanistan. It was a constant struggle to feed themselves and their children. "There was no light at the end of the tunnel," says Sohaila.
Until July 2006.


"We didn't even have a small piece of land where we could grow food for ourselves," says Maa Begum (bottom picture). For years her eldest son tried in vain to provide for nine family members with a monthly income of merely 54 dollars. He was the only one who was lucky enough to be able to find a job.

FN-rapport: Afghanistan er det femte mindst udviklede land i verden

Afghanistan has dropped one place in a UN study that ranks the population’s development in 178 countries worldwide. "Human Development Index" is based on values like income, life expectancy and literacy.
The report was released on November 18th and shows that only four other countries (all of them located in Africa) ranks lower than Afghanistan. This makes Afghanistan the fifth least developed country in the world and the poorest in all of Asia.

Mission East’s support requested at Afghan Agricultural Fair

The bags with dried squash, apricot, chilli and other products are all decorated with the Danish flag. A sticker tells people that the products are "Produced by a group of women from Baharak".
We are at an Agricultural Fair in a great white tent in northern Afghanistan, organised by the Afghan Ministry of Agriculture. Here, Mission East has a stand where jars of cherry jam are displayed side by side with honey, pickled vegetables, and bags of dried apple.

"Nothing beats the feeling of meeting the people we help"

It was a deeply touched Vice Managing Director who returned from a visit to Mission East’s projects in Afghanistan in July. Here Peter Samuelsen tells us more about his visit, and his encounter with a thirsty little boy.

By Peter Blum Samuelsen, Vice Managing Director in Mission East

As I arrived at Kabul airport, there were medical helicopters with wounded soldiers sitting outside, waiting to be flown out for proper medical treatment. I felt the city was tense with weapons and security personnel.

No development without education - Mission East in Afghanistan

Mission East’s Managing Director, Dr Kim Hartzner, has just been on a trip to Afghanistan. What most people hear about Afghanistan is bombs, angry mullahs and Taliban, burning schools and fighting between the police and Taliban. But in general the news does not talk about the progress also taking place in the country.  It does not mention all the fantastic things that are happening in Afghanistan every day.