Press Release

Zakat Foundation of America, UNICEF USA partner to warm Afghans this winter

UNICEF USA + Zakat Foundation of America

“On the brink of collapse” is already a popular idiom, and it is constantly being used to describe Afghanistan’s political climate. Through the pandemic, though, this description has been increasingly apt.

Among all the places in our world being faced with deathly cold temperatures, Afghanistan is in dire need this winter. Nearly 3.5 million Afghans have been driven away from their homes with nowhere to go at a time when frigid temperatures sweep across the fallen nation. We cannot let the fierce cold become deadly for them.

Imagine how cold it is in the camps.

Innocent Shanaz, age 10, tells UNICEF representatives, “It’s too difficult to live in the camps. It’s so cold.” We can help countless children like Shanaz. It’s not too late.

That is why Zakat Foundation of America is proudly partnering with UNICEF USA to support UNICEF in providing blankets, heavy-duty tarps, essential water and sanitation supplies, and full sets of warm winter clothing to those struggling in Afghanistan’s frigid temperatures this winter.

Going into the winter, more than 2.2 million Afghan refugees went to neighboring countries by September this year, according to data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. These refugees are under international protection, which most of their counterparts back home are unable to receive. In December 2021, the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) estimated Afghanistan would see a rise in people in need of humanitarian assistance from 9.4 million in 2020 to 24.4 million in 2022 (59% of the population), as reported Dec. 16 in a United Kingdom House of Commons briefing.

Harsh weather conditions in conjunction with a largely unmitigated COVID-19 emergency will have dire effects on Afghans throughout the country and Afghan refugees who have already fled it.

“Joining forces this winter with UNICEF USA to help the people of Afghanistan made perfect sense,” said Zakat Foundation of America’s Chief Marketing Officer, Amna Mirza.

“We knew our combined years of service would make an immediate impact on the region’s most vulnerable populations,” Mirza said. “While we’ve been working with UNICEF for over a decade, this partnership is special because it extends our already active food aid and shelter program in Afghanistan. This winter campaign will save lives. It allows us to warm the most fragile hands, the coldest little feet, and the cracked, chubby cheeks of an innocent child suffering through the cold in the camps.”

“UNICEF USA is incredibly grateful to Zakat Foundation of America for this partnership in support of children in Afghanistan,” said Leslie Goldman, UNICEF USA Vice President of Global Partnerships. “This couldn’t have come at a more critical time as we enter the coldest winter months in Afghanistan. With Zakat Foundation of America’s support, UNICEF will be able to provide urgent life-saving assistance for the most vulnerable children and families.”

Together, both organizations have been on the ground – and in the snow – for nearly 100 years, providing humanitarian aid with dedication and integrity. Zakat Foundation has been on the ground in Afghanistan for the past 20 years, providing humanitarian aid with dedication and integrity, and UNICEF, with over 75 years of experience, is providing humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable children and responding to the needs of over 24 million people in Afghanistan.