公視新聞網

AFGHAN WIDOWS GET THEIR INDEPENDENCE IN 'CITY OF WOMEN'|阿富汗弱勢寡婦 躲山區自給自足

Good Morning Taiwan
2017-07-17
A-A+
On a stony slope outside Kabul sits a discreet community known as the hill of widows. For women in patriarchal Afghanistan, losing a husband can mean losing income, stability and even housing, and after decades of war, the number of widows in this Central Asian nation has exceeded 2 million. With little government support, many of them are left to their own devices.

At the top of a hill on the outskirts of Kabul - a discreet community. This is 'Zanabad' - or 'city of women' - where Afghan widows have been settling since the late 1990s. Among them, Anissa's mother, Bibikoh, herself widowed twice. Unable to afford rental housing - 15 years ago she decided to build her own here instead, with the help of her five children.

==ANISSA AZIMI leader of 'city of women'==
We would tie our headscarves, pull up our trousers and use mud to build the rooms of the house. But every time we were done building a bit of it, the police would come and destroy it, or ask us for a bribe. We did not have any money to give them, so we would hide until they left, and then we would start our work again.

Bibikoh became a leader of this unique community - which once numbered as many as 500 widows. She has passed away since, and the home they built has been washed away by floods. But Anissa - now a policewoman - has kept her mother's legacy alive. Nawzi Fakiri is one of the widows who still lives here today.

==NAWZI FAKIRI widow==
I met Bibikoh and she told me about this place. I didn't come at first, but when my situation got really bad I came to find it. When she saw me I was living in a house I had rented, but the owner was kicking me out.

Finding a house to rent is one of the many challenges widows can face - with owners suspicious of these 'single' women and often doubting their ability to pay. After four decades of war, Afghanistan counts over 2 million widows, according to the UN. They hardly receive any government support - at best 150 dollars a year, if their husbands were killed in action.

==KOBRA REZAI, Ministry of Women Affairs Spokesperson==
In Afghanistan, men usually provide financial things for women, so it is hard for women to loose this support. And usually these women don't have access to high education or any professional or technical jobs, so it's hard for them to support themselves.

A policy for support of poor women in Afghanistan was approved in 2008 - but has yet to be ratified by the President.

TRANSLATED BY:JESSICA OY