The family has grown its assets to three cows, two sheep and a few hens.
In addition, Najiba has purchased a new carpet, a television with a dish antenna, a clock and a cell phone.
More importantly, she is now able to provide her children sufficient food, clothing and school supplies.
The dairy products her livestock produce, besides being the main source of nutrition for Najiba’s family, earn her AFN 3,000-4,000 (around US$ 80) per month.
Najiba has also learned to recycle the waste of her livestock for her daily fuel use, and as reserve for the winter months. Before TUP, Najiba was always worried sick as the winter approaches. Without proper food and heating, the harsh winter weather in the mountains of Bamyan is life threatening, especially for children.
She has also earned the respect and trust of village shopkeepers and traders, who supply her with goods even if she doesn’t have cash on hand.
Her economic power has made her more self-confident and optimistic that Najiba enrolled in a literacy course.
Najiba’s village has also benefited from her earned confidence and social standing. For a long time, her community has had no access to drinking water and the village women and children had to walk miles with their pitchers to fetch drinking water for their households. Najiba’s efforts to advocate for her village with the relevant government agencies and organizations put an end to the village problem. Her community now has a public well and Najiba had a standard toilet built for her family.
Once an isolated woman, Najiba is now addressed as “Khala Najiba” (Aunt Najiba) in her village, a sign of respect. She is always invited to weddings and village social ceremonies and nowadays, she can afford to attend and offer a gift. “They (villagers) are now in need of my support, but not too long ago, I was the one always needing their help,” says Najiba. Now, Najiba is self-sufficient and can run her life without support of the project.
When asked what would happen to her when she graduates from the project, Najiba’s face beams once again.
“I don’t worry anymore,” she says. “With every hardship, there is ease.”
Najiba has a reason not to worry. On top of all the positive things she has experienced from being a TUP participant, she also learned that hard work and perseverance pay off. And Najiba is not about to take her good fortunes for granted.
Since becoming a member of a community-led savings group under the auspices of the Afghanistan Rural Enterprise Development Program (AREDP), Najiba has managed to save AFN 3,600 (US$ 70).
For the first time in her life, she is at ease and ready to take on any future hardship.