My name is Farzana and I am 38 years old. I used to live in Parwan province but heavy floods washed away my home and destroyed my husband’s workshop in 2020. My husband is a vehicle repair mechanic but he developed heart problems after the huge loss and was unable to work so I am the only breadwinner of the family.

One day I decided to migrate to Iran with my children in search of better jobs and to support my ill husband. I didn’t want to go to Iran, but my husband was ill, and I had a lot of debt for paying for my son’s eye operation, so I thought I had no choice but to go to Iran and work to pay the bills and support my family. Once I arrived there, I found work at a tailoring factory. But 24 days later we were deported to Afghanistan.

Farzana in her new job. Photo: Avand Hasan /IOM Afghanistan

When we arrived back in Afghanistan, IOM gave us cash and household items. They also gave us hot meals and it felt great because it was during the month Ramadan (fasting) and we spent a long time on the way without any food. After that I continued my journey and finally arrived in Mazar-i-Sharif three days later. Life there was not easy, and we had serious economic problems. We were living in miserable condition, and I almost lost hope and gave up. 

Two months later, I received a call from IOM and they gave me more cash and introduced me to a tailoring company who hired me as a Product Ironer. This gave me hope at a time I was close to giving up.

Farzana discusses a project with her co-worker. Photo: Avand Hasan /IOM Afghanistan

I lost my job soon after joining because the company was suffering financially. But they called me back after the company received support from IOM. With my new earnings, I support my family with food and shelter. Since my income has increased, I am now able to provide stationery for my children. 

I felt very happy, and I am sure better days are yet to come for me! I don’t feel anxious anymore. I am able to pay for rent, afford my husband’s treatment bills and support my children’s education. I consider myself a lucky person. I am so happy that I can work and earn a livelihood for my family.