“Through our association we can take part in development and implement projects … We serve our people – we serve society.”
Mohammad lived part of his life as a refugee. He returned to his home in Afghanistan and drew on his own experiences to set up an association to assist fellow returnees.
The Chonghar-Morghgeeren Youth Association (CMYA) that he founded in 2012 with the assistance of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) provides a range of services in 15 villages.
CMYA have supported more than 1,200 returnees with education, health services and vocational training in areas such as tailoring, carpentry and greenhouse food production. With the help of UNHCR, they built the first school for girls in the region. Today it has several hundred pupils. CMYA promotes awareness across the community about the rights of girls and women.
Mohammad's story. In his own words.
My name is Mohammad Dad. I am a representative of Paghman district youth and Director of the Chonghar-Morghgeeren Youth Association in Paghman district.
About seven to eight years back my family and I returned from Peshawar. UNHCR assisted a lot when we returned to our homeland: they built homes and shelters for us. After returning, I established a youth association here, with UNHCR support, and registered the association with the Government.
We are successful in our affairs and currently our association is active at the district level. This is important for us and for the whole society, because we serve our people and our country, including the youth.
This is very important: through our association we can take part in development and implement projects. We built a school and helped hospitals. We even have a group of 10 to 40 people available to help people when they face any problem. Whether it’s day or night, we go to them and solve their problems. A good thing about civil society associations is that we serve our people. We serve society and help the villagers.
When we returned, there were a lot of problems. First we built a school for male students and we conducted training in human rights for women, youth and villagers. We visited our elders to discuss problems and find solutions. We even attended big gatherings of elders to find solutions.
We request youth, who are jobless, to get together and go to the Government to request the creation of associations, the same way that we did. Now, if there is any problem with government institutions, with the support of our elders and people from our community, we solve the problems. In the future, we plan to have MPs drawn from our youth community to represent our people and solve their problems.
At first, when we built the school with UNHCR support, no one allowed their daughters to go to school. Then we discussed the issue with our elders and the villagers. We convinced them [of the importance of girls’ education] and now 400 to 500 girls are going to school. The space available at the school is not enough for them all now.
With the support of UNHCR we cooperated with our people. In future we are planning to have more cooperation with UNHCR. We support each other. Our aim is to coordinate with our elders and villagers, and find solutions for problems as we did for education. Education is important for our future. We want to have MPs, governors and other officials from our community in the future.
I hope that we can show our achievements to the world through our work. I congratulate the UN on their 70th anniversary. Thank you.
Strong UN. Strong Afghanistan.
The UN in Afghanistan celebrates its partnership with Afghans who are making a difference for a strong Afghanistan.