Feature: Glimpse at Afghan children's struggling lives, as Children's Day approaches

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, November 19, 2020
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by Farid Behbud, Jawid Omid

KABUL, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) -- Many children in Afghanistan have still been living in misery, mainly due to the lasting conflict.

"My father was wounded in an explosion and his body completely disabled. The job of bringing home food has fallen on me, and now, I am the bread winner of an eight-member-family," a 10-years-old Imran told Xinhua.

"I have to go out early in the morning and often to sift through garbage dumps to find scraps or anything of value to sell."

The UN Universal Children's Day, which falls on Nov. 20 every year, marks the day on which the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989.

When asked about UN Universal Children's Day, Imran, living in a tent in Chaman-e-Babrak, a slum area in Kabul, said he had no idea about the day and he would have to work on that day as usual.

"Another good way of making money is burning peganum harmala seeds to produce smoke among the cars, as the seed smoke is traditionally used in Afghanistan as both a disinfectant agent and for all kinds of rituals. I can make about 100 afghani (1.3 U.S. dollars) per day by selling the seeds to provide food for my family," he said.

Imran said he has hoped to go to school like other children and become a teacher in the future.

"I hope war could end and peace be restored in our country in order to live in a peaceful environment," he said.

"I go to school every morning and after school I have to burn peganum as my father doesn't have a good job. I want peace and security return to Afghanistan, so I can go to school peacefully. I hope our lives could become better, and don't have to live in a tent anymore," Abdul Mubin, 11, told Xinhua.

Imran and Mubin are from displaced families. Up to 800 displaced families live in Chaman-e-Babrak locality, most of the children in the displaced families have to work.

The families were displaced to Kabul by war and conflict in their native provinces. Their children are mostly shouldering the burden of bread winning to their families.

Officials of the Afghan Ministry for Labor and Social Affairs said that around 1.9 million Afghan nationals under 18 have to work long hours to support family, many of whom have dropped out of school.

Some children work in kilns, workshops, metal industry and as welders, tinsmiths as well as shoe shiners, vendors and car-washers along the streets. In some areas they are employed in the country's renowned home-based carpet industries.

Many of such children work with little or even no pay.

War and insurgency continue to take toll on Afghan civilians, including women and children, as more than 2,110 civilians were killed and over 3,820 others wounded due to fighting in the country in the first nine months of 2020, according to figures of United Nations Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

Out of the casualties, 553 children lost their lives and 1,295 wounded during the clashes and fighting in the first nine months of the year. Enditem

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