QALA-I-NAW (Pajhwok): Orphaned children in western Badghis province, who lost their fathers to the war, hope that peace would remain forever in Afghanistan and that the government would provide them with better education.
More than four decades of war and insecurity in Afghanistan forced millions of Afghans to flee their country and hundreds of thousands have been displaced within the country.
Some sources put the casualty toll at more than a million,while some others put it at two million. As a result of war in Afghanistan, about 4.4 million people (13.9% of the total population) are disabled and now, more than half of the country’s population lives below the poverty line.
One of the consequences of the four decades of war in the country is thousands of orphans who are faced with serious economic issues.
Mohammad Nasim, a 14-year-old resident of Qalano, is one of the orphans whose father died ten years ago in a mine explosion.
He now lives in an old house with a sister, a brother and his mother, and he has to work to provide food for his family.
“If there was no war, my father would have been the head of the family today and I would not have to work, I would get education instead” he said while selling pepper and dish masala in a handcart in a corner of Qala-i-Naw city, the provincial capital of Badghis.
“As a result of conflicts, the lives of many children like me have become miserable. I do not want war anymore, the peace that has been established must be permanent,” he said, reminding the difficult days of his life.
Nasim, now in the sixth grade of school, says it is difficult to study while working, but he does not want to work on the road forever, he wants to become a successful engineer.
He asked the government to help him and other orphans who are breadwinners of their families, and to provide them with education so that they would have a good future.
Nasim is not the only child who lost his father, but there are thousands other children who are faced with similar fate.
Abdul Kabir is another vendor in Badghis who lost his father in a landmine explosion two years ago and now he is the breadwinner of his family of eight. He sells fruit in a handcart in a corner of Qala-i-Naw city in order to support his family.
The 13 years old boy bears much hardships in order to provide food for his family. He has to pay rent of their house.
He hardly earns 100 afghanis or one dollar a day and also attends school. “I pursue my lessons carefully to become a doctor in the future, I hate war and violence, I want my people to never fight again.”
He called on the caretaker government to pay attention to the families who have lost their parents so their children could pursue education and make their future.
Humaira is another 11-year-old girl whose father worked in the former government’s security forces and was killed in a battle.
She is currently begging due to poverty along with her mother and three sisters in a corner of Qala-i-Naw city. She said, “Our house is rented and very old, we have nothing in the house; if my father was alive, we would not have been begging.”
This girl also wants to go to school like her other peers, but due to poverty, she has been deprived of going to school.
She said that if the government helped them, they would be able to go to school and have a honorable life.