Hand in Hand partners with German government in Afghanistan
Imagine if during the 2015-’16 migrant crisis some 50 million people, not 3 million, arrived on Europe’s shores, hungry and desperate for work. Now imagine if Europe was one of the poorest places on Earth, lacking even the most basic services required to keep up.
That, proportionately, is the problem facing Afghanistan, the world’s largest source of refugees for more than three decades, which today faces the inverse problem: the world’s largest returnee crisis, with some 2.5 million people expected back in the country this year and next.
Last month, Hand in Hand partnered with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the German government’s development agency, to help 500 such returnees and internally displaced persons work their way towards a prosperous, sustainable future in the country’s growing poultry value chain. The four-month project is, admittedly, a drop in the ocean. But by working with GIZ to tailor our programmes to the specific needs of returnees and IDPs, Hand in Hand is setting the stage for future work with this rapidly growing and chronically under-jobbed cohort.
By the numbers
Project budget: US $230,000
Jobs created: 500
Lives improved: 2,875
Hand in Hand creates 3 millionth job
Fourteen years ago, Percy Barnevik and Dr Kalpana Sankar joined forces to expand a small charity in southern India that provided free schooling to children working in the local silk trade. It was called Hand in Hand.
They soon realised the real problem wasn’t a lack of schools; it was the desperation that forced parents to send their children to the factories in the first place. “We had to attack the root cause of the problem: poverty,” says Barnevik.
Fast-forward to today and that’s exactly what Hand in Hand has done, fighting poverty with business and skills training from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe and in eight countries in between. Today, we’re proud to announce a major milestone in our story: the creation of Hand in Hand’s 3 millionth job.
“Even when they’re undernourished, downtrodden and illiterate, Hand in Hand’s entrepreneurs have an enormous will,” says Barnevik, now Hand in Hand’s honorary chair. “When they get a chance they’re not letting it go by. These women can move mountains.”
Here’s to fourteen more years, millions more jobs and more moved mountains.