Winter is a tough time for families living in Afghanistan’s remote Central Highlands. Snowed in for months on end, these families have to survive on whatever food they reserved from their summer harvests. If a family experiences a poor harvest, the winter can be a scary time. Families without sufficient food are often times forced to leave their home and community behind in search of food.

Thankfully, this winter, many more families in this region will have their fill because of produce from their kitchen gardens. For the last three years, Medair has taught remote communities how to grow and preserve healthy foods in order to help them get through the long, harsh winter.

Families also learn hygiene practices that help keep them healthy and avoid preventable illness and disease.

Delara* and her husband Ezatullah are one of the couples who started their vegetable garden with Medair’s support. During one visit, Delara excitedly showed off her bountiful garden’s produce.

"We have spinach, leeks, tomatoes, coriander, cabbages, squash, green peppers, and more!" -Delara

“Medair staff gave us the seeds and helped us plant vegetable gardens next to our home. Before, in winter, I had only bread or apple soup to give to my ten children. This year, I can also give them vegetables that I learned to dry,” Delara said with a smile.

Delara is one of the 1,850 women in the Central Highlands Region trained by Medair to create and maintain their own vegetable gardens. This project gives women the tools to provide for their families, especially in winter, and aims to improve the health and resilience of families, thanks to a healthy diet.

Learning a new skill that reaps such positive benefits has been a source of pride and confidence for women participating in the training.

“Before, people used to laugh that women had started working on the land, and I was not used to holding a shovel,” laughs Delara. “But now they find it very interesting and it is becoming more normal, as everyone in our community is doing it. The women in the community are now very proud that they can do this, and that makes them very happy.”

The results of implementing kitchen gardens are very positive. Not only are families improving their overall health, but in the regions where Medair works, families are no longer forced to give up everything in search of food and, instead, can stay at home in their village and continue the life they know.

If you’d like to join us in assisting women like Delara support their families in tough times, please consider making a gift to our Women and Children’s Fund. Each gift is a seed of hope that bears fruit in the lives of those living in some of the most isolated and often forgotten places in the world.

This month, we are “cooking up” something extra for our supporters – a culinary challenge!

Are you familiar with Afghan cuisine? If not, try out one of these recipes to get a taste of the local cuisine; and let us know you did it by tagging us on social media @MedairInt.

Dolmeh-e-Kadoo (Afghan Stuffed Squash)

*Names have been changed for reasons of security.