Afghanistan is taking steps forward in nationalizing Early Childhood Development so that children age 3-6 have access to and benefit from holistic programs.
Sajad’s father died when he was very young and his mother married again. They were living in Baghlan privince. When Sajad was 4 years old, his family moved from there to Kabul to find job opportunities. They are 7 people in the family, with Sajad and his sister, and his two half-brothers from his mother’s new marriage, who are ill. There is a three-year old, who has been facing with anaemia, and a 1- year old, who has cerebral palsy. Sajad is in 7th grade, and is a member of the Save the Children Child-friendly Centre, as well as working in a soup shop. His father has recently obtained a new job as a guard of one of the prisons in Kabul. At the moment, Sajad is the only wage-earner of the family, and is having to pay the rent on the house.
Race for Survival
Yesterday in our Race for Survival in Kabul 300 children came together and raised their voice! These children said no to poverty loud and clear!
Mahjera, now 17 years old was forced to enter into early marriage three years ago. As a result, she had to drop out of school. She comes from a poor and traditional family. She is living in a very remote area of Kabul with her husband and in laws. Prior to her marriage, Mahjera was at 8th grade and earned the highest scores in her class and was very ambitious.
She was dreaming and planning to become a doctor so she can contribute nancially to her family and help other women who do not have access to the health facilities in their community. She experienced and saw for herself the challenges met by her mother and other women of not having a female doctor in her village. Her dream was cut short when at the middle of her class and education she was forced to drop out of school.
She married a man 10 years older than her. Her husband is a shopkeeper and the bread winner of the whole family. She had
hectic days and suffered a lot throughout these years. Her in-laws treat her like a slave and continue to disrespect her because she has not been able to have a child. She is living in a small house with a huge number of family members. She is doing all the house work herself. Her mother in law has always been harsh to her for not being able to have a child and she is very concerned about this. She has visited many doctors trying to get pregnant. She has also been told by her husband that if she is unable to have a baby in the next couple of months, he will remarry.
She has been hit by her husband several times and she does not have access to her basic rights like many other women in Afghanistan.
Girls are highly vulnerable here in Afghanistan.They are constantly mistreated by their families from the very young stages of their lives.They are always told not to challenge and raise questions and to not raise their voice in order to maintain a good reputation and image for the family.
“I never asked my parents to buy me dresses or take me to the park.All I wanted was to study and to become a doctor one day.”
“I was happy when I was able to continue my education. I worked really hard to get good grades. To become a doctor one needs to study hard and have high grades.When my father decided to marry me off, I was heartbroken. Nobody asked or cared. All my dreams were shattered forever. I feel I am not alive anymore. One can’t live without hopes and dreams.”
Rokhsana is from a poor family in Hijrat Abad village, and is in grade four at a formal school where she, together with 30 other class mates sit on the floor of their class room (4A) because the class has no chairs. The school is located on a hill side above the town of Hijrat Abad which is quite dusty in the summer making it difficult to concentrate when trying to study. The students would like to have a proper school with a library and a boundary wall around it to deal with the dust and to create a good learning environment.
Rokhsana walks one hour each way to school. After she returns from school, she helps her parents with housework at home, which deprives her of any opportunity to study during the day.
“When we got the solar panel, we removed our traditional lamps that we were using before. Now that we have this solar panel, it stops working when the battery is out of charge, as it is not working now. Therefore, we do not have always lights by this solar lamp. When the battery doesn’t work I can’t study at night and do my homework.
I spend two hours to walk to school and back home every day. When I arrive home I help my parents by feeding animals and then any other work that I need to do. However, my parents want me to study hard and become a doctor, but it is only possible when I have light in the nights to do my homework and study regularly.
I am very happy now with this new solar lamp which will enable me to study at night.
I am also thinking of making one stand for my solar lamp from used beverage bottles through which I can have more light for myself and my brothers who sit next to me and study together.
I love my solar lamp and always look after it while charging and keeping it in a safe place.”
Save the Children's response to the floods in Afghanistan began on 25th April 2014. Situation Report 2 outlines progress in relief efforts, published 12th May 2014