Sun, Oct

The village that takes a new road


road-constructionThe village of Alikhil is on a new road towards the future. Thanks to a SCA project, the women of the village will receive tailoring training and the village men are building a road that will connect the village to the outside world.

The vocational training for the women of Alikhil is part of a development project that Swedish Committee for Afghanistan runs. The village Shura and the Community Development Council suggested the improvements for the village, from a fixed amount of money. At the top of the wish list was a school, but it was too costly. Alternatively, the village suggested that a road be constructed, which had been previously missing from the village.

Because SCA also wants females in the village to be involved in development projects, the tailoring training was organised at the same time. The projects fall within the Northern Rural Project, and are a part of the SCA Rural Development Program.
“Previously, we had no development in this village, until SCA started these projects,” the shura chairman Abdul Baqi explains.

“No one gave any attention to us before. Almost everyone in this village is illiterate, even myself; I have a pen in my shirt pocket, but I can´t write. Our children need education.”
In one of the village’s simple mud homes, a tailoring training is on-going. In total, 15 women are working on sewing machines, which they will keep after the course is completed. During my first visit, the training was halfway completed, with only 2.5 months remaining in the course.

“Several of the women have already started selling their clothes at the bazaar, and bring money to their families,” says Hafiza Qayimi, Social Organizer at the Mazar office of Swedish Committee for Afghanistan.
“This means a lot to a poor neighbourhood like this. Previously, women found it difficult and sometimes impossible to make money,” Mrs Hafiza says.
“Since many in the village are illiterate, I helped them write suggestions and fill applications forms,” Hafiza Qayimi, Social Organizer of SCA explains.

Below the hill, 25 men are intensively working with shovels on the road construction. The causeway is completed and the ditches are nearly finalized. In a few days, the gravel will be delivered, and at the end of April, the village road should be completed.

All labourers come from the village. The payment is not large, but it provides some income and jobs to the village. Every ten days they work for free; it’s the village contribution to the project.
The road will be 1.5 kilometres and connects Alikhil to neighbouring villages and to the main road between Mazar and Aibak.

“The road will help a lot in the future. Especially in the wintertime, when conditions are difficult. Previously, we often experienced great difficulties going to clinics and hospitals in cases of emergency. An additional benefit is that we can now easily sell our products,” the shura chairman Abdal Baqi says.

Abdal is pleased, but is already planning for future projects:
“Hopefully future development projects will bring electricity to our village and our school. Our children must learn to read and write!”