In Afghanistan, a young woman dreamed of becoming a paralegal. She wanted to help support her parents, husband and son by working, but was not allowed. Instead of pursuing a career, she was forced to stay home and sustain a household on her husbands $134 a month pay check, which was hardly enough to meet their daily needs.
This life may be difficult to imagine, but for a long time it was reality for 25-year-old Madiha.
Keen to work, Madiha managed to convince her husband’s family – who had previously forbidden her from working – to allow her to get a job. She wanted to help support her parents, who lost their son to a suicide attack and had no other support, as well as her own family.
Madiha, her husband and their three-year-old son live in a rental house with his family.
“After I got my prosecution (hearing) license, I started finding cases and jobs to support my child and husband,” she says, “but I faced challenges in getting trial cases.”
Her luck changed one day when, as she was searching websites for a job, Madiha found a posting by War Child looking to hire private attorneys. She sent in her resume and was happy when they informed her she was hired. She now works six to seven hours a day.
War Childs justice program provides legal aid service that aim to enhance access to social and legal protection services for women and young girls.
The project includes a strong legal team based in several provinces. It is comprised of five lawyers, eight paralegals and 80 private attorneys. The team helps women through legal aid counseling, direct representation of cases at courts or through Alternate Dispute Resolution mediation sessions. The project also supports gender based violence survivors in prisons or at women shelters, to help them transition back into their communities.
Madiha says that she is thankful for the support and assistance that War Child provided her with.
“After I got my license to do legal practice, I found it difficult to find cases, mainly because of my lack of experience and connections,” says Madiha. She had her first case referred to her by War Child, and since then has managed 40 cases relating to violence against women, criminal, and civil cases.
“I never imagined having this many cases,” she says. “I see it as a miracle in my life.”
Madiha says she can feel the change in her life after becoming involved with War Child. “They supported me in developing my knowledge and skills, which ultimately helped to establish solid ground for my legal practice.” she says,.“Through my earnings, I am contributing to my family income.”
She says the programs offered by War Child can help graduated students, especially women and girls, find opportunities and develop their career and skills.
Tamra, a legal officer at War Child, remembers when she first met Madiha. “She was stressed and had no previous experience dealing with criminal, family or civil cases,” she says.
Tamra says that War Child conducts workshops aimed at building knowledge, such as how to run a case, how to follow cases and how to write a perfect defense statement.
“I have attended many workshops conducted by War Child on the elimination of violence against women, women’s rights, child rights, and mediation,” says Madiha. She says the workshops have broadened her vision and knowledge, and also provided her with sufficient strength to grow in her career.
Tamra adds that now Madiha “is perfect in handling cases. Just perfect.”
Madiha says that she appreciates everything that War Child in Afghanistan is doing for women and children.
“I’m proud to say that I am part of this organization, and I’m able to help women and children know and claim their rights,” she says.
Support War Child this Mother’s Day:
It’s important to show mothers how much we appreciate and love them. They give up a lot- their patience, time, privacy, and personal space- for the sake of their children. But in countries torn apart by war, mothers sacrifice everything – forced by to give up their homes, jobs, and livelihood. These mother’s want to do what’s best for their children, but they need our help. By making a Mother’s Day sacrifice, your donation will help these mothers gain access to education and the skills to earn a living, so they can better provide food, shelter, and nurture for their children.
This Mother’s Day, War Child is asking moms everywhere to make one more sacrifice: giving up their gift in exchange for a donation that helps other mothers in need.