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Overcoming family challenges

    A challenge in one area of your life can affect other aspects. Worrying about these can drain a lot of your energy and make you too tired to deal effectively with other problems such as disagreements with relatives or friends.

    The lives of most Afghans revolves around the family, which makes our reliance on each other essential. This also however puts strain on the family structure, be this a result of customs and tradition, misunderstandings between relatives, intolerance, ignorance or simply poverty and the struggle for survival.

    To address these challenges, Ahmad Khan Karimi and Majidi are two young men who live in the Kamarband Baba Yadgar area of Balkh province of Afghanistan and decided to volunteer to support other families facing such challenges.

    They explain: “There are multiple challenges facing families in our area, and this can put real strain on relationships, resulting in a lack support between family members in some cases. We witness how external pressure can upset the balance within families, especially between generations, and so we try to identify the source of disagreements and help them to find ways to encourage dialogue and collaboration to resolve these.”

    61-year old Kaka Hadi is a resident of Kamarband Baba Yadgar and says, “Working together with these young men has helped us to express ourselves more effectively, listen to each other and resolve our differences. This is a big change from the past, when we disagreements or disputes could fester for years, as we had no idea how to overcome them. Now, as a result of discussion with each other, we know that we can resolve such issues by listening and respecting each other’s views.

    Zahra, an 18-year old who lives in the area says: “Educating boys and girls, will help us to have a better family life as it exposes us to a range of ideas and opinions that we should take on board in resolving our difficulties within the community.”

    According to Majidi, parents need to pass on a positive attitude to their children, as they tend to copy what they witness of their peers’ behavior – this risks prolong disagreements and misunderstandings. Those who are confronted with serious challenges might become more irritable with members of their family, which makes it less able to cope”.

    “Through this programme, I have learned to listen more and try to be more tolerant to ensure a happier life for my family and for myself” says Zahra.

    “We need to build the potential to better address challenges within the family, and find ways of supporting each other, as our families are the center of our lives” Karimi and Majidi conclude