COVID-19 is having a catastrophic impact on millions of vulnerable families in Afghanistan.
More than 8 million children will need help to survive in 2020. Even before the pandemic hit, Afghan children lacked access to basic healthcare and quality education. Your support is urgently needed to help deliver immediate humanitarian aid.
Help Save Children in Afghanistan
There is not a single child in Afghanistan today that has not grown up amidst conflict.
Landlocked and mountainous, Afghanistan has suffered from such chronic conflict, dangerous security issues and political instability, plus extreme natural disasters, especially droughts, during its modern history that its economy and infrastructure are in ruins. Its people struggle with extreme poverty.
According to Save the Children research, Afghanistan is among the top 10 worst conflict-affected countries to be a child. Tragically, millions of vulnerable Afghan children are growing up in high-intensity conflict zones, at risk of grave child rights violations, including killing and maiming, recruitment and use by armed forces, abductions, denial of humanitarian access and attacks on schools and hospitals. Children we recently surveyed expressed their fears of going outside, feeling least safe on their way to and from school.
Many Afghan children and families are forced to flee. In fact, over half the world’s refugees come from three countries – and Afghanistan ranks second, at 2.7 million refugees.
The Challenges for Children in Afghanistan
Today’s child in Afghanistan is growing up in the one the world’s worst countries to be a child, at risk of experiencing grave violations of children’s rights. Some 3.7 million children are out of school, 60% of whom are girls. Other challenges include a high rate of child mortality, malnutrition, forced child labor, child marriage and the recruitment of child soldiers. Families displaced by conflict and those newly returning to their communities are among Afghanistan’s most vulnerable.
- 1 child in 16 dies before their 5th birthday, 9 times that of the U.S.
- 38% of children suffer from stunting due to malnutrition
- 42% of children are out of school, and 76% of girls (15+) struggle to read and write
- 21% of children are engaged in child labor, instead of learning
- 15% of people have been forced to flee conflict
- 55% of people live in poverty
Our Results for Children in Afghanistan
Every child deserves to safely learn. But children in Afghanistan, like 10-year-old Hemat,* who loves going to the Save the Children-built school in his village, face many grave threats on their way there and back.
- 376,000 children aided in crisis
- 241,000 children educated and empowered
- 93,000 children healthy and nourished
- 36,000 children protected from harm
- 187,000 children lifted from poverty
Our Work for Children in Afghanistan
Thanks to your generosity, Save the Children has been a leading charity in Afghanistan since 1976, and offering sponsorship since 2006 – aiming to ensure children can grow up healthy, educated and safe.
The targeting of nongovernmental organizations – such as the January 2018 attack on our office in Jalalabad – makes our work difficult and dangerous. So we’re bolstering our emergency preparedness and protection, ensuring systems are in place to keep our staff safe and continue our urgent work.
Together with local communities, government ministries and partners, we’re working to improve children’s physical and emotional health, nutrition, sanitation and hygiene, education, protection, food security and livelihoods.
We’re improving the delivery of crucial health and nutrition services to underserved communities. We’ve made great progress in leading community-based education, recognized as a key solution for out-of-school children. Protection remains central to our work, and we’re increasing the scope and quality of our programs. We reach hundreds of thousands of children through our humanitarian programs each year. And we continue to give children a voice to ensure that their rights, such as girls’ education, are guaranteed.
Here are some recent examples of our work:
A healthy start in life
- Save the Children is training health care workers and supporting government health initiatives
- In underserved communities, we’re supporting rural health centers and mobile health teams and raising awareness on proper health, sanitation and hygiene practices
- To treat malnourished children, we’re operating therapeutic feeding sites and providing nutrition education
- We recently integrated mental health support into our health and nutrition programs
The opportunity to learn
- We’re working with the education ministry to establish community-based and accelerated classes, with the goal of returning children to school by grade 7
- Through our community-based early childhood care and development centers, we’re supporting early cognitive development so crucial for lifelong learning
- We’re advocating for early education, and we were instrumental in drafting the first-ever national preschool curriculum
- We recently introduced our proven Numeracy Boost approach in multiple schools, including teacher training
- Through sponsorship, we installed solar operated wells in four schools to ensure safe drinking water for thousands of students and teachers
- We provided training in vision and hearing screening, as well as in adapting classrooms to better serve children with disabilities
- We’re building capacity among educators to implement our Special Needs Action Pack (SNAP) to address inclusion gaps
- We’re providing innovative information technology that allows teachers to share knowledge, experiences, challenges and best practices
Protection from harm
- We’re working to reduce the number of children involved in harmful child labor, improving access to protective environments and supporting youth and families by offering social services and vocational training
- We’re advocating for children’s rights and building the capacity for child protection at the government and community levels
- Our teams are actively engaging communities in changing behaviors and attitudes so children’s rights are observed and respected
- Through sponsorship, we collaborated with the government to develop the Child Rights in Islam handbook and engaged religious leaders to proactively promote child rights and protection
- We welcomed the endorsement by presidential decree of the Law for the Protection of Child Rights and continue to advocate for its implementation
- We’re responding directly to the unique needs of children in conflict and crisis
- We’re helping build local capacity for humanitarian response, especially in disaster-prone areas
- We’re providing families with cash-transfers for food purchases, cash-for-work projects, vocational training and other income-generating activities to help provide children with necessities
- As part of an effort to mitigate the impact of disasters on children’s education, we recently developed and piloted our first-ever disaster risk reduction toolkit for schools
How You Can Help Children in Afghanistan
You can create change that lasts a lifetime for children in Afghanistan – in so many ways.
Support Save the Children’s mission. Donate to help children in Afghanistan and around the world grow up healthy, educated and safe.
Sponsor a Child
Be the hero in the life of a child. Sponsorship drives lasting change in children’s lives, families and communities.
Sources: Facts and statistics have been sourced from Save the Children’s monitoring and evaluation experts, as well as our thought leadership publications, , including our Global Childhood Report 2020 and Stop the War on Children 2020 report. Other sources include CIA World Factbook and BBC Country Profiles.
Photos: Anna Pantelia / GMU / Save the Children.
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