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Future of Children at Stake in Afghanistan’s Elections

 

Image of young girls in Afghanistan.

“Now is the time for Afghan children to get
back on their feet and move in a positive
direction,” ChildFund President and CEO
Anne Goddard said regarding upcoming
elections in Afghanistan

“I am very happy when I go to school as I get to learn my lessons. I like to see my classmates and friends,” said Shamila, a 13-year-old girl in Afghanistan.

 

In a country ravaged by conflict over many years, ChildFund International is working in Afghanistan to see that the happiness Shamila is experiencing is shared by thousands of others.

Afghanistan’s citizens head to the polls Aug. 20 to help determine their future – and their children’s future.

“At ChildFund International we strive to create environments in Afghanistan where children can learn, play and grow,” said ChildFund International President and CEO Anne Lynam Goddard. “While many news reports focus on military developments, corruption and what will happen with this election, we must not forget about the children there.”

That means focusing on children such as 12-year-old Kubra, who wants to become a doctor later in life.

“I have always wanted to be a doctor,” she said. “A doctor is very respected and saves the lives of many people in my community. If I get to be a doctor I will make my family very proud as people in my community will look up to me and respect me.”

From high infant and maternal mortality rates to stunted growth issues, children in Afghanistan currently face many issues that impact their future. Twenty-five percent of children die before they turn 5, according to UNICEF. The average life expectancy in Afghanistan is 44.6 years, compared to 78.1 in the United States.

“Now is the time for Afghan children to get back on their feet and move in a positive direction,” Goddard said.

ChildFund International has worked in Afghanistan since 2001 and has assisted more than a half million deprived, excluded and vulnerable children and their families. In the past eight years ChildFund has trained parents, community leaders and government staff to recognize and manage child protection issues; supported community-based literacy classes for children; trained teachers; provided children with recreational areas in which to play; and developed health services that include training health workers to treat illnesses.

The children, however, seek more.

“We need computers to learn and be with the world,” Kubra said. We also need various charts that help us learn better.”

Shamila’s experience with education issues is similar.

“There are many illiterate girls in my village and they don’t go to school,” she said. “My parents are also illiterate so they can’t help me with my studies.” 

“We want children to have as safe, stable and normal a childhood as possible and to grow up in communities where they can become leaders of positive, enduring changes that will help them bring peace and security to their country,” Goddard said.

More on Afghanistan

  • A statement from ChildFund President and CEO Anne Lynam Goddard »
  • What ChildFund is doing in Afghanistan »