Help Children in Afghanistan

Afghan children have known nothing but conflict their entire lives. Today, more than a year since the Taliban took power, they’re facing extreme hunger and being forced out of school, into labor. The situation for girls is especially concerning.

Save the Children has been helping in Afghanistan for over 40 years. We are one of the largest INGOs with more than 5,700 staff and community-based workers – including 2,490 women. Thanks to our donors, Save the Children has reached 3.9 million people, including 1 million girls and 1.2 million women after restarting operations in September 2021, following the Taliban takeover. 

Save the Children paused some of our operations in Afghanistan following the Taliban’s announcement that Afghan women are banned from working for national and international non-government organizations. On January 15, 2023, we were able to restart some of activities where reliable assurances have been given for a full and safe return to work for our female staff.

Your donation to The Children's Emergency Fund can help protect children and families around the world living in conflict. Through Save the Children’s political advocacy arm – Save the Children Action Network – we are building bipartisan urge the U.S. Government to protect the futures of families in Afghanistan. 

What to Know About the Taliban Ban Declared on Female Aid Workers

On December 20, 2022 the Taliban announced a ban on female students attending university in Afghanistan. Just days later on December 24 came the Taliban’s announcement that women are banned from working for INGOs.

Following the announcement, Save the Children paused its activities. Our female staff are essential for the safe and effective delivery of our services, and we simply cannot operate without them. Women make up 50% of our workforce and are crucial for reaching women and girls.

A Save the Children spokesperson said:  “The ban on female staff will have a direct impact on the life-saving assistance Save the Children provides and we are calling for an immediate reversal to this decision.”

On January 15, 2023, Save the Children was able to restart some of our activities where reliable assurances had been given for a full and safe return to work for its female staff. "While the majority of our programs remain on hold, we are restarting some activities – such as health, nutrition, and some education services – where we have received clear, reliable assurances from relevant authorities that our female staff will be safe and can work without obstruction." 

The Challenges for Children in Afghanistan

There is not a single child in Afghanistan today that has not grown up amidst conflict.

Chronic conflict and political instability have strained Afghanistan throughout its modern history. Extreme natural disasters, especially droughts, have only made matters worse, thrusting the country's economy and infrastructure into ruins and its people into extreme poverty.

Afghanistan is among the worst conflict-affected countries to be a child. Tragically, millions of Afghan children are growing up in high-intensity conflict zones, forcing many families to flee. Over half of the world's refugees come from three countries – Afghanistan ranks second, at 2.7 million.

  • 1 child in 16 dies before their 5th birthday, 3 times that of the U.S.
  • 19.7 million children and adults – almost 50% of the population – are going hungry
  • 5 million children are one step away from famine
  • 27% of children are engaged in child labor, instead of learning
  • 55% of people live in poverty
Map of Afghanistan

Our Results for Children in Afghanistan

Save the Children provides health, education, child protection, nutrition and livelihood services, reaching over 1.6 million Afghans . 
In Afghanistan, a 15-year old girl sits solemnly in her home, where cooking utensils can be seen hanging in the background.

  • 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

A History of Our Work for Children in Afghanistan

Thanks to your generosity, Save the Children has been a leading charity in Afghanistan since 1976, with the aim 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
  • We provided training in vision and hearing screening, as well as in adapting classrooms to better serve children with disabilities
  • 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

How to Help Children in Afghanistan

You can create change that lasts a lifetime for children in Afghanistan – in so many ways.

Donate to the Children's Emergency Fund
Donate to help provide desperately needed relief to children and refugees.

Browse the Gift Catalog
Give a meaningful gift that will help transform children’s lives and futures in Afghanistan and beyond. 

Join Team Tomorrow
Your monthly donation can help protect children affected by war and conflict.

Sources: Facts and statistics have been sourced from Save the Children’s monitoring and evaluation experts, as well as our thought leadership publications. Other sources include CIA World Factbook and BBC Country Profiles.


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