Around the world, Muslim communities are coming together to commemorate the holy month of Ramadan through prayer and fasting. But millions of children and families in Afghanistan cannot have a proper meal to start and break their fast. They are in the grip of a devastating humanitarian and economic crisis.

Meet Robina. She lives in Qalai Fatho, a district in Kabul, with her husband, four daughters and four sons. Although she is only 30 years old, she already has arthritis. But despite her chronic aches and pains, she bears the burden of supporting her family. Her husband, 32-year-old Khan Mohammad, has worked only sporadically since being discharged from the army and suffers from mental health problems. Occasionally, he sells plastic bags he has collected in the city, but most of the time he stays home while Robina works, tending goats and washing clothes for a combined 100 rupees week. 

Ramadan was tough last year, says Robina, but she did manage to put at least some food on the table for when she and her family broke their fast. This year is different. 

“Unemployment is making it difficult,” says Robina, who is raising her family without electricity or running water. “When it is not Ramadan, we do not have anything, so how will we have anything during Ramadan?”

 In Afghanistan, another difficult Ramadan

Coming out of a winter her children spent hungry, with one suffering from malnutrition and another pneumonia, Robina would seem to have little cause for hope. But despite her struggles to provide for her children, she believes in her children’s abilities and their capacity to make better lives for themselves.

“My dream is to get help so I can solve our problems, and for my children to study and continue their education,” says Robina. “They have very good memories. Whenever they are able to study, they learn very quickly.”

“But without help,” she says. “We do not have any options.”

There are many challenges facing children like Robina’s in Afghanistan. This Ramadan, supporters who donate their Zakat to UNICEF can help provide cash transfers to families like Robina’s to help them provide for their children in the best way they know how. 

As thoughts turn to those less fortunate this Ramadan, partner with UNICEF to bring much-needed relief to the children of Afghanistan. Help UNICEF provide emergency cash assistance to vulnerable families by donating your Zakat now. 

Top photo: In Afghanistan, Robina says she and her children — five of her eight are pictured above — are spending Ramadan as they have every other day this past year:  Hungry. “We have [not made any] preparations for it. We cannot eat and break our fast. Whether we have food or drink or not, Ramadan will pass.” All photos by Mohammad Haya Burha for UNICEF Afghanistan