Beneficiary Profile: Afghan Farmer Turns Cucumbers into Classrooms

Mr. Hazratullah is a 25-year-old farmer in Nalgham Village of Zheray district, Kandahar Province.

He lives with his father, mother, three brothers and four sisters. Hazratullah studied until grade 5 and then left school due to family problems and started working in the family farm with his father, Mr. Mohammad Essa, who is also the headmaster of the village primary school for boys, and his younger brother who teaches at the school. Hazratullah knows how troubling it is for children to leave school, so he works with his father to assist villagers in educating their children by providing a safer environment.

Last year, Hazratullah planted hybrid cucumber seeds in a KFZ greenhouse. He received regular technical assistance from the KFZ greenhouse specialist on how to grow off-season vegetables, disease control, safe use of pesticides, soil leveling and solarization and greenhouse management, among other skills. As a result of hard work, training and ongoing technical guidance from KFZ, he harvested 8,000 cucumbers and sold them in the local market, earning 40,000 AFN. Hazratullah used 30,000 AFN of his greenhouse income to build four classrooms at the Nalgham Primary School where 30 boys study. The school closed last year because parents were concerned about their children’s safety due to cold winter and hot summer classes under the open sky. The new classrooms Hazratullah built, which replaced tents, are warmer in winter and cooler in summer. They provide a safer and a better learning environment for students.

With the safer classrooms now in place, Hazratullah and his father are lobbying with the District Governor and local Education Department to reopen the school and provide additional teachers. Parents are eager to send their children back to school. Emphasizing the importance of education for children, especially ages seven to 14, Hazratullah said, “I stayed busy in winter by working in the poppy fields or just hanging out with other unemployed people. The KFZ greenhouse is the reason I’m not unemployed or lancing poppies and also play a role in educating village kids.”

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