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Woman in Bamyan offers free education amid child labour crisis in Afghanistan

Afghanistan is a country facing a severe child labour problem. Millions of children in this country are forced into labour, and some go to school hungry. After the resurgence of the de facto administration, this crisis has escalated, creating even worse conditions for children.

In Bamyan province, a woman and her husband and friends established the “Child Foundation”/”Kudac Organization” in response to growing concerns about the increasing number of child labourers and the detrimental consequences, such as physical and psychological harm and lack of education. This organization provides free education to several child labourers and orphans.

Maryam Halimi, the founder of the “Child Foundation,” said in an interview with Khaama Press News Agency that she established this organization over a year ago to support children and has provided free education to more than 60 child labourers and disadvantaged children.

Ms. Halimi said, “In recent years, I noticed an increase in child labourers in Bamyan. I decided to create an institution to educate them because if instead of books and pens, they have garbage heaps in their hands, the future of the country will be bleak and irreparable.”

According to statistics from the Child Labor Support Organization (HASCRO), the number of child labourers in Bamyan has increased by about 35% in the past two years. The increase in child labour is not limited to Bamyan province, and this crisis has engulfed Afghanistan.

She views these children: “Children are the most important segment of society. They must receive an education because the country’s future depends on them. If children spend their days and nights in difficult labour, without a doubt, the future will be worse than the present.”

After the government banned women from working in government and non-governmental organizations, child support organizations like Save the Children suspended or significantly reduced their activities throughout Afghanistan. This reduction in the activities of child support organizations has profoundly impacted the economic status of families, which has deteriorated significantly over the past two years, affecting the well-being of children in Afghanistan.

Maryam, the former owner of a restaurant in Bamyan city, exclusively hired female staff. However, after the rise of the Taliban, she was forced to close the restaurant due to pressure and restrictions against women.

She is now actively supporting working children; her spouse and friends assist her. Recently, video clips of students from the children’s organization have been shared on social media, showing them engaged in literacy education. These children can now communicate their message to the world in English.

The Children’s Foundation adds that children study English, Persian, Pashto, and mathematics. The organization’s officials focus on English language education to send these children to other countries through scholarships in the future, where they can have a better quality of life.

Ms Halimi continues, “65 working and orphaned children are busy studying in our organization. We intend to increase the number of these children and, in the future, have a network in 34 provinces to cover at least 1,000 children in each province.”

Every year, from the twelfth month of June, we are reminded of the International Day Against Child Labor. The International Labor Organization said in its recent report that 3 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 are engaged in some form of work, a fundamental protection concern in Afghanistan.

However, the report from the Head of the National Workers’ Union of Afghanistan in 2022 indicates that 6 million children in Afghanistan have been forced to work.