Nearly four decades of war in Afghanistan has led to a nationwide breakdown of social and economic structures. Extreme poverty and instability have caused an increase in child labor in the country. Many families are thus forced to employ their children to earn extra money to survive. According to UNICEF, child labor affects around 25% of afghan children from age five to fourteen. (Afghanistan Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2010 – 2011: Final Report). And these children do not have the opportunity to attend formal schools.
In 2016, Action for Development introduced the ‘Street Children Back to School’ project to give street children in Kabul the possibility to attend a semi-formal school where they can learn basic literacy and numeracy skills. Thanks to its semi-formal structure, the school allows the children to reconcile studies with their work.
The project was launched with the support of AfD’s collaborating partners in Afghanistan and Switzerland, namely the Afghan Ministry of Education, the Gertrud Hirzel Foundation, the Commune de Plan-les-Ouates as well as various Afghan organizations.
There are currently 47 street children enrolled in our school. The school for street children is located in an area close to where many of the children work. Proximity is important, as it allows children to attend classes during their breaks. Moreover, AfD ensures that these children can benefit from free services at the Comprehensive Health Center (CHC).
AfD does not condone child labour. We do however believe that empowering street children and their families through access to education is a necessary step in order to eliminate child labour.