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Afghanistan Stronger Women, Stronger Nations programme participants - Credit Rada Akbar


The rapid spread of COVID-19 across the globe affected me negatively and put untold fear in me. My fear magnified when I heard about cases of coronavirus in my state. Suddenly, I started coughing and having headaches, and I was inundated with frequent thoughts that I had been infected whenever I remembered that the virus can easily spread from one person to the other. I had many sleepless nights crying and worrying that I had infected my family members. But thankfully, I became better and later, totally healed of the feverish symptoms. 

The current situation has also affected my cash inflow. My fried peanut business has been put on hold for lack of patronage, especially because schools have closed. People no longer come to patch their torn clothes as everything right now is at a standstill. I have not sewn new bedsheets, handbags and purses because I have not gone to the market to buy the materials.  

I haven’t been able to sell the goods I make at home because I am practicing social distancing and would not endanger my family or myself.

I have been adhering to the teachings of my trainer by regularly handwashing with soap and clean water. I also try as much as possible to avoid touching my eyes, nose and mouth, though sometimes I forget.  

My children and I have avoided going to crowded places such as markets, hospital visits, weddings and naming ceremonies. However, my biggest challenge is that my husband does not adhere to the simple rules of keeping safe. He argues with me whenever I remind him of the importance of practicing these rules as he will always interrupt and say that I do not trust God to protect me or that I have taken upon myself His responsibility.  

I am also having trouble managing my friends. One of them called me on the phone recently to express her displeasure with me for not attending the naming ceremony of her newborn child. I tried explaining to her the dangers of hosting people in her house at this time, but she would not listen and has stopped answering my calls since then. I hope she will someday understand my intentions for her safety and mine were genuine. 

My prayer is that God should keep us safe from every disaster and heal our country of the virus so that we can resume our classes. I also pray that someday other women in my community can enrol into the Women for Women International programme so they can experience this transformation. 


Hassana is one of 3,600 women from conflict-affected communities in Bauchi state, who are enrolling in our year-long training programme as part of a transformative project funded by UK aid from the UK government.

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