Children of Conflict: Afghanistan
In the crowded city of Kabul there is a growing population of about six million children who dropped out of school to work and support their families. These children over work themselves every day to earn 10 cents per plastic bag, running between cars after pedestrians. Girls disguise themselves as boys so they would be able to go and sell plastic bags and earn a few Afghanis to get some bread to feed the family. The United Nations estimated that there are about fifty-thousand street children in Kabul alone. Most of those street children can’t afford an education because their fathers are unemployed or died in one of the wars (Haidary).
Data has shown that in 2002 there were thirty-eight thousand street children but now that number is estimated to sixty-thousand. There are many different reasons why this massive increase happened. There were many refugees from Iran and Pakistan that were forced out of their homes. Also, fathers would either get injured or die in the war. Therefore, the orphaned children have no choice but to help support their families. The children found many other ways of earning money besides selling plastic bags. They learned how to repair bikes, work for shoe-makers or ask for alms to get the waft aromatic smoke made to ward off the devil at people passing by (Haidary).
Kabul has many unemployed individuals that live in poverty, most are refugees of wars. Afghanistan is known to be one of the poorest countries with forty million residents who are living below the poverty line. However, after the US invasion, the number of street children has decreased and they started going to school fulltime. Based on The Education Ministry’s data, seven million children were registered at public schools in comparison to the one million back in 2002. Regardless of all the improvements, Afghanistan still has a high percentage of illiteracy rates, with fifty percent of men and eighty percent of women who cannot read and write (Haidary).
There are many similarities and differences regarding the poverty in Afghanistan and America and their effect on children. An Afghani child’s education is greatly effected due to lack of means. However, poverty in America is considered a life style because there are many ways to meet their basic needs. In America, families living below the poverty line are eligible for welfare for nutrition, Medicare for health, free public education and shelters to live in. While in Afghanistan, only about forty-five thousand out thirty million Afghanis have access safe water and sanitation. And about thirty-thousand Afghanis receive nutritional support and eighty-five thousand gain economic self-sufficiency (“Afghanistan”).
Although millions of Afghanis have returned to school after the collapse of Taliban in 2002, thousands of children still work in the street to sustain their families. Children at the age of ten and older would love to go to school and learn. However, with the...