An estimated 10.3% of Afghan children aged 5-14 are engaged in child labor in the country. Most of them spend their days roaming the streets, selling small objects with the intent to generate a small income for their families. Many are orphaned or have disabled parents because of the ongoing conflicts. They have no choice but to work to provide for themselves and their siblings. They do not have the opportunity to attend formal schools.
Therefore, AfD has been implementing a semi-formal program to provide assistance to street children in Kabul City through a team of volunteer staff. Our staff in Geneva is now securing funds to enhance this ongoing project, namely “Street Children Back to School”. The pilot project will allow street children to attend informal teachings given by street workers, allowing them to get initiated to basic concepts of Dari and Pashto literacy, numeracy and English while continuing their economic activities. The long-term objectives of the project are to give these children the skills necessary to break free from the cycle of poverty and to reintegrate as many children as possible into the formal school system.
Children who take part in the Back to School program will also receive immediate free access to check-up, health services and nutritional support at AfD’s Comprehensive Health Center (CHC) in Kabul. Interventions can only be effective if they are integrated within and complement the broader strategies to improve the overall health and well-being of street children and their communities. Street workers will offer a first contact for street children with caring adults, thus representing the entry point for other services.
AfD does not condone child labor in any way but understands that it is important to reach out to populations in their current circumstances in order to give them tools for empowerment.