By: Nangialai Ibrahimi
This is Tawakh village, Unaba district of Panjshir province. Tawakh and its neighboring communities present a beautiful view which gives further beauty to the landscape over here. We are standing in front of Malang’s door made of typical wood. Asked if he was ok, we were told that Malang had lower limb disability as he had lost his both legs due to a landmine in the past. Since then, Malang has been experiencing the greatest economic difficulties, which the lockdown placed due to Covid-19 pandemic, further built upon these hardships.
We wanted to meet Malang closely. After we knocked on Malang’s door, his little son opened the door. We entered the house and saw Malang standing with support of crutches under his armpits.
He looked happy with smile on his face. After he saw us, he suggested that we ought to go inside his house. When we entered his house, we saw his children with different age groups taking the relief packages, distributed to them under Dastarkhwan-e-Meli Program, inside the yard with such a great pleasure. The children indeed didn’t take any notice of us because they were busy packing the food items. It was only Malang who welcomed us. We told Malang that his children were very happy. By showing agreement with our comments, he said, “Why shouldn’t they be? They are as happy as if they are celebrating Eid today”.
While smiling, we told Malang what he meant by Eid. He gave a loud laugh and said.
“Oh yes, we received food items under Dastarkwhan-e-Meli Program today”.
I have become more interested in asking further details from Malang. While giving support to his children in carrying of relief packages to their house, Malang revealed: “Without doubt, we were poor and the Coronavirus pandemic made us further impoverished.
It was only Dastarkhwan-e-Meli Program which satisfied our survival needs by providing us with basic food needs such as flour, rice, cooking oil, red beans and hand wash soap. Thanks to Dastarkhwan-e-Meli Program – it has first identified and listed down the vulnerable households in both rural and urban communities with the help of Community Development Councils (CDCs) and now they are distributing relief packages to them accordingly. So, this is the major reason behind the pleasure of my children.” It is worth noting that around 27,116 thousand deserving households in 121 communities of 7 districts in Panjshir province have received relief packages under Dastarkhwan-e-Meili Program so far. As of June 20, 2021, more than 809 thousand households in 6,165 communities of 34 provinces of Afghanistan have received relief packages totaling more than 3.29 billion Afghanis under Dastarkhwan-e-Meli Program.
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in negative economic impacts on the lives of people, especially the poor & daily wage-earners. The Government of Afghanistan has initiated a relief response program – called Dastarkhwan-e Meli – that would be implemented in cities and villages.
Dastakhwan-e-Meli program is planned to be implemented in two phases.