Kabul bakery donates bread as millions in Afghanistan suffer extreme hunger

Dozens of people gathered outside a bakery in central Kabul on Monday in the hope of receiving a free loaf of bread.

Hamena, a 14-year-old girl from Kunduz province, said it has been tough to make ends meet with her father working as a market porter and her mother sick at home, Reuters reported.

“So I come here to get some bread for my home,” she said.

Bakery owner Mehr Dil Khan Rahmati, 58, has been handing out free bread for about three years, but said he has noticed an increase in poverty since the collapse of the former government.

Before the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan came to power, about 500 people would wait outside his shop each day, but now, there are days where as many as 2,000 try to get a free loaf, he said.

His service is entirely donation-based, so the amount of bread he hands out varies from day to day. People contribute what they can, anywhere from 50 Afghani ($0.50) to 10,000 Afghani ($98). The loaves he sells go for 20 Afghani ($0.20) each.

“When people donate extra money, we bake more bread (for people in need) and will usually bake until eight or 10 o’clock at night,” he said, adding that there are days when his workers bake as many as 20,000 loaves, Reuters reported.

Last month, the United Nations appealed for $4.4 billion in humanitarian aid for Afghanistan in 2022. On Wednesday (January 26), it said it needed a further $3.6 billion for health and education, basic infrastructure, promotion of livelihoods and social cohesion, specifically the needs of women and girls.