Sahra is a resident of Shuhadai Salehin area of capital Kabul. In addition to studying in fifth grade in Qala-e-Heshmat Khan School in Kabul, she has been working as a shoe shiner since past three years to earn for her family.
Sahra and her younger sister, Parwana, pick up their work tools every day at 8am after breakfast and walk five kilometers to reach their work area near Kabul Municipality, where they polish people’s shoes and earn some money.
After arriving at their workplace, the two little sisters lay their old woolen blanket on the ground, work tools and then sit to wait for customers.
“Our economic situation is very bad, that’s why I clean shoes to help my family,” said Sahra while polishing a man’s shoes with her small hands and her face flushing in cold. “The house where we live is on rent, my brother cannot do all the things alone,” she said.
Sahra earns around 200 afghanis a day and she uses the money for buying bread, sugar and some vegetables for her family.
She said her 16-year-old brother ran a handcart in Kabul Mandavi Market and earned around 200 afghanis daily, which was spent on their house rent and other needs of their family.
“My good day is when I earn money and my bad day is when there is no work and I return home empty-handed,” she said.
Sahra’s father who traveled to Iran for work returned as a drug addict and he is currently under treatment in one of Kabul hospitals.
Sahra, who blamed his father’s addiction on war and insecurity, said that if there was no war, his father would have worked inside the country and would not have gone abroad.
“If there was no war in the country, my father would also not have become an addict, I would not have been cleaning people’s shoes in cold weather; I would have been studying only,” she said.
Sahra polishes people’s shoes from 9am to 11:30am and after that, she walks again for five kilometers to reach home and do home work of her school.
When she arrives home at 12:30pm, she eats her lunch and without taking any time off, she wears her uniform and leaves for school. Sahra, who has high interest in education, said she studied during night and worked during the day.
When asked how intelligent she was in study? Sahra said, “I am mediocre but if I had no problems and my father was not addicted, I did not need to work, I would have been better in study”.
Sahra hopes to become a doctor in future and serve her country and people. She said she would work hard for achieving her goal.
She prays for peace in the country and believes that her dreams would come true only if peace is established in Afghanistan.
“I hope peace and stability will come to our country so no more a child becomes a vendor, they would follow their education,” she said.
She asked the government to provide financial support to families suffering from economic problems and vendor children so they would be able to pursue their education.
“The Children’s Day is for children who have no economic issues and who do not work, but it is meaningless for kids like me who work on road in cold weather,” she added.