For the Love of Fathers!
I am raising this fund for my Father 58 years old, from Afghanistan. A Businessman who have worked hard all his life long from childhood working in the harshest conditions risking his life to support his family and provide safer water solution to its country. Unfortunately, his water business debts are causing him to lose his business and home to mortgage. Even if his properties are taken by bank, his debts from other creditors will be never ending. Sleepless nights due to high stress has caused him to suffer from serious High Blood Pressure of 180/110 and has been recommended bed rest due to his high anxiety, Depression and Hypertension levels even though he has been taking anti-depressants since years. The burden of Debts does not allow him to get healthy and his family. We need your support, Please take a minute from your time to read my story and understand my need.
My father's vision for better living standard & never-ending debt:
My father's vision for providing its people clean water, creating jobs and a better living standard all started in the year 2002. He wanted to walk on this path because my mother's sickness became an inspiration to him. In 2002, we became aware that my mother suffered from Stomach problems and was hospitalized due to it. She had Stomach ulcer caused by H-Pylori and in the same time my little brother was diagnosed with H-pylori whilst he was already a heart patient. My father questioned the doctors the cause of the stomach ulcer and he was told that H-Pylori is a waterborne disease and its from the water they have drunk and this happens to most people due to the scarcity of Safe Water access in Afghanistan. Almost all of Afghanistan's underground borewell water is sweet water however, still they are contaminated with various kinds of bacteria. In addition, the hardness of the borewell water is 2500 to 5000 TDS, which happens to be the main cause for kidney stones and diseases in people who consume it. In the year 2002, children death rate was on the rise and one of the reasons was due to stomach problems such as diarrhea, Cholera and E-coli. The rising children death rate, my mother and brother's H-pylori, unemployment in Afghanistan and the continuous use of contaminated water by all citizens caused my father to find a solution and start up a Water Purification and Bottling Factory in the year 2003. His own personal investment was of U.S.D. 7.8 Million.
Initially, he started production with 20 liter water bottles then expanded his production to 500 ml to 1500 ml pet bottles. In those years, water products were mostly imported and sold at high prices where majority of the citizens could not afford it. My father sold his products at half price of the imported bottled drinking water so that everyone can have access to Safe drinking water at cheaper price. Our initiative not only benefited the health of our product consumers but as well as financially supported many families as jobs were created. The factory initially employed 100 employees in Production to distribution departments and later it increased to 200 Employees. In Afghanistan, the birth rate is high, there is minimum of 6 dependent children to a working adult as his responsibility. In addition, his initiative created thousands of indirect jobs to other businessmen to do trading in the market.
The business was stable till the year 2009 but, due to high demand, he had to expand the business. In order to expand, increase capacity & quality, he had no choice but to take loan from the bank and keep his factory and personal property as mortgage. Yet, this was not enough and he needed more financial support so he had to take loan from other investors as they were not interested to become a shareholder. The Loan from the Bank was of U.S.D. 3.6 million (for 12 years tenure) with 15% interest rate. Other loan from creditors was U.S.D. 5.6 million to be repaid with certain profit share. In total, he was in debt for U.S.D. 9.2 Million (without interest & profit). The company investment became U.S.D. 17 Million with the loans taken. The expansion resulted in great outcomes and more consumers were reached.
However, starting from the year 2014, the war in Afghanistan increased due to the Taliban. In this period, the economic condition of Afghanistan got worse and most of the companies went out of business and bankrupted as the country's citizens were getting poorer day by day. Although, my father continued to keep the business afloat during the war. He was not being able to overcome his debts due to low sales and not being able to find a investor in this war zone country. Till this year 2019, the war is ongoing and he has tried his best and paid the bank a total of U.S.D. 5.7 Million (including interest @15% + Process charges and Reschedule charges, etc.) and U.S.D. 2 Million (with profit share) to other creditors in the previous years. After all these payments, the current 2019 business debt is U.S.D. 2.1 Million from the bank and U.S.D. 4 Million other creditors. In the past, the bank allowed rescheduling payment dates however, now the bank is demanding immediate payment even though they are aware of the bad market situation that is happening due to the ongoing country wars. My father's all personal and business property were mortgaged for the single loan of bank. The bank is on the urge to take his company, his home and every other personal asset he owns as they are taking him as the Sole Guarantor for the Loan.
Over all, we would have been lucky if all his debts finished with the bank taking his properties however, my father after losing everything, would still be in debt of U.S.D. 4 Million for his personal loan taken from other creditors for the expansion of the business. These people have threatened and taken physically action against our family to give their money immediately and we live in fear everyday. Other than that, they have threatened to make case against him and send him to jail whilst my father is requesting more time period from them and to have patience so that we could make some sales in this bad winter weather and repay them monthly. My father has tried finding buyers for his personal property and his company but unfortunately, no local or foreigner dares to make any investment within Afghanistan due to the current war. Please be aware that the Bankruptcy Policy, company insurance or other Protection laws in Afghanistan does not get implemented usually. All the legal laws & regulations are in favor of the banks and this is an exit barrier for a businessman. The banks easily regain their given loan money back with high interest rates whilst we face life threatening warnings. We need to keep the Factory working in order to be able to pay all our debts to the bank and other creditors. If we lose the Factory, we will come on road and still be full of never-ending debts and the creditors will not stay calm resulting to violence.
My father did his best to run his factory and provide continued support to its consumers but, low sales & profit levels have brought him in serious halt and the factory working capital is being used to make payment for his bank loan and other debts. After several years of repaying his loan to the bank, in 2019, he still owes the Bank U.S.D. 2.1 Million and personal debt from creditors of U.S.D 4 Million. This situation has caused us to live in fear, risk our lives and his family's future. His family consists of 12 members and all he requested from the creditors was to give him some time to repay but, he was not granted. Now, our life is in great danger because of the life-threatening calls and the bank taking all our property.
My father's vision has starting to become his biggest regret in regards of Investing in Afghanistan and for risking his family's future since there is no protection or supportive law in favor of a businessman in terms of debt and threats. However, he does not regret serving his people with a safer water solution as it may have saved lives of many from the underground wellbore diseases and still wants to reach his vision.
Safe drinking Water in Afghanistan is scarce specially when the government's municipality cannot provide it for its citizens. The entrepreneurs in this industry is doing a great benefit to the locals by providing safe drinking water as they give hope to people to be saved from waterborne illness along with the jobs created.
Please Support me to Save My Father from his debt burden as I am worried a lot for his health and life. I have just finished my studies and I am trying to support him and be of use to his business but, I am not enough. I cannot give him the financial support he needs to continue his business. Until I can gather my own money, I am afraid it will be very late… May God Bless You All.
Thank You in Advance.