UN World Food Programme

Food Helps Returnees Settle Back In Afghanistan

Mohammad is sitting together with his 13-year-old son Omaid at Ansar camp in Herat province, Afghanistan.
Photo: WFP/Habib Rahman

On the Western border of Afghanistan with Iran, many Afghan refugees return home in need of assistance. WFP and its partners works to help them find their feet.

Mohammad, 37, arrived back in Afghanistan after being detained for eight days at the border between Afghanistan and Iran. He was deported with his two children, 13-year-old Omaid and Amir, who is only 3 years old. “I left behind my wife and everything. I have no place here. My only option is going back to my parents in Chest-i-Sharif Herat”.

Omaid looks upset and says he was in class three at school in Iran. He says: “I have no idea what to do. But I would like to go back to school again in Afghanistan to become a police officer to protect my family and country.”

WFP provides food assistance to returnees at Ansar camp in Herat. Mohammad thanks WFP for its family ration, which provides them with food for two months. While WFP provides food, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) distributes kitchen utensils and blankets. WFP also includes Afghan returnees in its training and asset-creation activities, which help communities build infrastructure.

Kubra and her family at Ansar deportee camp in Herat province.
Photo: WFP/Hassamudin Wasim

Kubra and her husband Sayed were sent back to Afghanistan along with their three daughters; Fatima, 10 years, Khadeja, 3 years, and Masoma, 8 months old. “We were on the way to a funeral ceremony when we were caught by the police and deported immediately,” she recalls. “We didn’t even have the chance to take our belongings or turn off the refrigerator”. Pointing at her three-year-old daughter, Kubra explains: “I was a small child when I found refuge in Iran.” This is her first time back in Afghanistan since leaving all those years ago. Thanks to WFP and IOM, she and her family received assistance upon their arrival, as they were without food and clothes. She is concerned about her children, describing them as flowers. “Just as flowers need water and nourishment,” she says, “Children also need care otherwise they will not grow."

Sayed is a daily labourer. He said “My priority is to find work first and enroll my daughters in school. My daughter Fatima wants to go to school and be an engineer in the future.”

WFP’s support to returnees in Afghanistan is made possible thanks to support from the United States of America.