I want to share with you a recent story that touched me deeply. It is about a woman named Kobra. 

Like many of the widows in Afghanistan with no means to an income, Kobra and her six children live in crushing poverty.

She came to the attention of Mahboba’s Promise and we enrolled her into our sponsorship program but unfortunately it was too late for Kobra and her family to avoid tragedy.

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With winter setting in, Kobra became increasingly anxious about how she could support her family.

Her eight-year-old son, Najib, took on the task of supporting his family, working as a shoe polisher after school. The harsh cold of the Kabul streets where Najib worked caused him to catch a cold.

Kobra, mother of six, lost her eight-year-old son to the cold.

Kobra, mother of six, lost her eight-year-old son to the cold.

With no money for medication and only a muddy, one room house for the family’s shelter, Najib’s health got progressively worse and sadly passed away.

Kobra blames herself, saying “I could not afford any wood or coal to warm up my children. He died in front of my eyes”. Her grief has turned to fear as she now says, “I am going to lose all of my children.”

I find this story so hard to write. I feel as though I have failed in keeping my promise to help those disadvantaged children that endure the immense cruelty of poverty.

Najib reminded me of my own son who I lost. They were around the same age. I look at Najib’s photo, proudly wearing his school uniform and I know that he had dreams to make a good life for himself and his family.

I know how Kobra is feeling because I have been there myself. No mother should have to experience such pain or the feeling of helplessness at losing a child to poverty or a simple sickness like a cold.

Winter in Afghanistan lasts for a crippling three months and is very harsh.

Mahboba’s Promise is aware of hundreds of widows like Kobra who may lose their children to the cold, simply because they cannot afford to keep them warm.

Mahboba Rawi is currently in Afghanistan on one of her regular visits, and here, she shares how the country’s severe winter is tragically affecting underprivileged families.

To find out more about Mahboba’s Promise activities in Afghanistan and how you can help disadvantaged families this winter, visit www.mahbobaspromise.org or call +61 2 9887 1665