KABUL, the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, Disabled and Martyrs said on Sunday, seeking government’s attention to the issue.
Abdul Raziq Salar, social security director at the ministry, told a ceremony marking the ‘National Day of Protection of Vulnerable, Orphans and Unaccompanied Children,” that the number of children in danger in the country had reached up to 6.5 million.
They included orphans, unaccompanied, disabled, drug-addicted and child labors, Salar said. He said their survey showed currently 1,900,000 children were on the streets nationwide and of them 1.2 million were engaged in hard labor.
“A large number of children are at risk; but the government has failed to allocate even a single penny in the national budget for these children who are a vulnerable class of the society. The President has lately promised to address the issue,” the official said.
He said the president had pledged to create a fund for vulnerable children. “The draft of the fund has been prepared by the labor ministry and is sent to the Cabinet for approval. We want the fund box draft to be finalized at the earliest possible.”
In addition, Salar said the labor ministry, in cooperation with some local and foreign institutions, had reached out to 20,000 vulnerable children, paving their way to attend school and find a proper job.
Mujamil Hassan, the Islamic Relief head, who was also present at the gathering, termed the situation of vulnerable children in Afghanistan as worrisome.
He said the Afghan government should pay more attention to the children’s situation. “Currently, there is no strategy in Afghanistan to support children.”
Hassan said the Islamic Relief had been able to collect about 3,400 orphaned and unaccompanied children from roads in Kabul, Mazar-i-Sharif, Herat and Jalalabad cities and enroll them in schools. About 6,000 afghanis were paid for expenses on 3,400 children, he added.
Mohammad, 13, who sells plastic bags, told Pajhwok Afghan News that his father was a patient and his mother worked at a neighbor’s house.
Mohammad said he also worked to financially support his six-member family. “I used to attend school a year ago; but as our economic situation worsened, I was forced to leave the school.”
He said he wanted the government to provide education opportunity to parentless and poor children.