Finding a new home

Janet Ghazizadeh|Published 04. Jun 2015
After returning to Afghanistan following 13 years of displacement in Pakistan, the people of the northern town of Kishinde discovered their homeland in ruins and still affected by on-going fighting.

With no other options, they travelled to the outskirts of Mazar-i-Sharif and settled on vacant land.

“NRC was the first to come to us. They set up tents and gave us food,” Abdul Ghyas, the clan’s leader said.  When they decided to purchase the land legally, they had little understanding of the process involved in acquiring a valid land deed from the government.

NRC, through its Information, Counselling and Legal Assistance (ICLA) programme, assists displaced individuals with civil documentation and other legal aid and counselling services.  In Afghanistan, a tazkera, or national ID card, is necessary to access basic rights such as to own property, filing cases with the courts, or even going to school.  In a country with high illiteracy rates, the process for acquiring a tazkera can be daunting for those not familiar with the bureaucratic system. 

“None of us had tazkeras and most of us are not educated enough to get them on our own.” said Ghyas.  “Thankfully, NRC stepped in and assisted me and the 81 other families in getting tazkeras. They also guided the way for us to register the land. Thanks to NRC, we have tazkeras, land, and shelter. We are here legally and no one can ever ask us to leave our homes.”

In 2014, NRC helped approximately 98,682 people with legal assistance in Afghanistan, 45% of which were women. The programme is funded by DANIDA, EuropeAid, NORAD, and UNHCR.