Help was originally founded to help Afghan refugees. Today it supports returnees and vulnerable Afghans to determine their own paths in life. Our comprehensive training programmes create future opportunities in sustainable tourism, agriculture and trade and in the development of public bodies, and they help Afghan small entrepreneurs to take their first steps.
Self-reliance and reconstruction
“Help’s six-month programme supported me in starting my small business together with another course participant. I learnt how to repair mobile telephones and now earn a decent income. All this is thanks to Help’s training programme.” Mr Pawitz, 23, runs a mobile phone repair service in Herat Province
What is the situation like in Afghanistan?
Terror is part of daily life
War, violence and oppression have marked people’s daily lives in Afghanistan for decades. The invasion by the Soviet Union (1979-1989) was followed by years of civil war and culminated in the Taliban’s seizure of power. Following the attacks on 11 September 2001, the international coalition ended the Taliban’s rule of terror in Afghanistan, but daily terrorist attacks continue to pose dangers for the civilian population.
Over 40 countries are now involved in rebuilding Afghanistan: their aim is to establish state structures and build schools, roads and hospitals. For Afghans, having future opportunities is the most important thing. Around 1.4 million young people living in Afghanistan are of an age when they could start a vocational training programme. Promoting education and civil reconstruction and strengthening socially disadvantaged groups, such as women, are all vitally important for Afghanistan’s future development.
How is Help helping in Afghanistan?
Education is the key to the future
Help opens up career opportunities for people in Afghanistan. In Herat Province and Bamyan Province, we focus on providing assistance to returnees and vulnerable Afghan families. Our apprentices are trained in professions such as dressmaking and tailoring, automotive mechanics, office and public administration, tourism, IT and mobile telecommunications, and they continue to receive our support after they complete their course. Our projects help Afghan women in particular to achieve independence and determine their own lives. Practical application is very important to us. Alongside their training in vocational schools, men and women gain valuable experience within businesses and offices. They can apply what they have learnt right away and earn a secure income after completing their training.
From 1981 to 1997, Help ran projects in Afghanistan and supported Afghan refugees in neighbouring countries. These projects focused on emergency aid, education, health and agriculture. Help did not work in Afghanistan during the Taliban’s rule from 1998 to 2001.
Donors and partners: AA (Department for Foreign Affairs), BMZ (Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development)
Ms Susan spent most of her childhood fleeing war and terror. When she returned to Afghanistan, she made a decision: she wanted to become a successful seamstress. Why? She did not like the work that other seamstresses did for her. So, she attended a Help training course in Herat Province and learnt the trade herself. Today she is 34 and a successful businesswoman. She shares her knowledge with other Afghan women: “At the moment, 25 women are attending my course, Banoo Tailoring Production Workshop for Ladies. But they aren’t just learning with me – they’re also earning money. Right from the start, they work on orders and are paid for it. This means they can support themselves and their families economically.”
Pictures and videos
Facts and Figures
- Population: 35,530,081 (2017)
- Religion: 99 per cent Muslim (80 per cent Sunni and 19 per cent Shia)
- 54.5 per cent of Afghans live below the national poverty line
- Child mortality (children under 5 per 1,000 residents): 111 (2017)
- People who can read and write: 38 per cent (2015)
- Trained over 10,500 Afghan women and men in Herat Province and Bamyan Province since 2005
- More than 1,000 apprentices in Afghanistan completed their training with Help each year
- 70 per cent of the women and men who complete one of our training programmes successfully find secure work with a regular income
- Trained around 80 tradesmen in biogas plant construction in Bamyan Province between 2014 and 2016, and built 15 of these plants
Help has been working in Herat Province since November 2001 and in Bamyan Province since 2014. During this time, Help has:
- built schools and laid water pipes
- deployed the first German female mine cleaner
- helped war-affected young people to complete their school education and vocational training
- supported the vocational training and reintegration of returnees from Iran
- supported the development of public structures
- strengthened female independence in Afghanistan