Mahida was acquainted with violence from an early age, when an enemy of her family attacked them with an explosion, resulting in the death of her sister. When Mahida’s father passed away, her mother remarried to an older man who already had eight children with another woman.
When she was still a child, her stepfather asked her to marry his oldest son, her stepbrother. Mahida still remembers the way the henna smelt on her hands and feet on the day of the wedding. Mahida gave birth to her first child when she was just 16 years old. Despite her love for her children, her married life was tumultuous and plagued by violence as her husband (stepbrother) was a violent man who would beat her and abuse her. One day, during a family argument, Mahida’s husband killed her brother. Her husband was jailed for this but Mahida lived in fear as the rest of her relatives blamed her for his incarceration and wanted to kill her. Her relatives would beat her with their fists, cords, or whatever they could find and demanded money from her. While her husband was in jail, Mahida also suffered a miscarriage that killed her unborn twins. By then, she already had five sons and two daughters and she was desperate to keep them safe.
“Home was a prison for me. Life was a prison.”
Mahida came to HAGAR in February 2014 with six of her children, aged, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7 and 3 years old. Her eldest son, who is 12, lives with his grandmother. Mahida hasn’t spoken to him in over a year and misses him terribly. However, she remains positive as she has had the opportunity to attain vocational skills in beauty and tailoring and she dreams about opening her own tailoring shop one day. Her children have also been able to attend school and madrassa. Mahida’s biggest hopes for her future are to reconnect with her son and to be able to make a living and support her family. The vocational training she receives at HAGAR brings her one step closer to making the empowered life she envisions a reality.
“I have one dream and one hope, and that is to stand on my feet and support my family and reconnect with my oldest son as well…”
At the Transitional Care Center (TCC) in Kabul, we provide shelter, rehabilitation, as well as educational, vocational and employment opportunities to survivors of domestic violence, abuse and exploitation. With your continuous support of $50 monthly, HAGAR will be able to continue its work in Afghanistan and help women like Mahida lead dignified and empowered lives.