A new report from Save the Children shows that a year after the Taliban took power, children – especially girls – have done poorly in Afghanistan. The number of children who are hungry and suffering from mental disorders is increasing, and many of them cannot go to school.
Save the Children registered association in Germany
After the Taliban regained control of the country on August 15, 2021, billions of dollars in international aid were withdrawn and foreign exchange reserves were frozen; The banking system collapsed. The economic crisis was accompanied by the worst drought in 30 years. The far-reaching consequences of this development will be documented in the forthcoming report “Breaking Point: Children’s Life for a Year Under the Taliban”. The investigation, which took place in May and June 2022, included statements and reports from children and caregivers from around the world. 1450 families.
About 97 percent of families reported that they are unable to adequately feed their children and that girls eat less than boys. Nearly 80 percent of the children surveyed reported that they had gone to bed hungry in the previous month. Nine out of ten girls feel anxious because they don’t have enough energy to study, play or do their daily tasks.
“What is happening in Afghanistan is not just a humanitarian crisis, it is a disaster for children’s rights,” said Chris Nyamandi, Save the Children Afghanistan director. The solution cannot lie in Afghanistan alone – it also lies in the hands of the international community, which, unless humanitarian aid is provided immediately and finds a way to support the economy and revitalize the banking system, will deprive more girls and boys of their childhood.”
The study also shows that more than 45 percent of girls surveyed are out of school; For boys, it’s 20 percent. The main reasons are economic hardship and the ban on secondary schools by the Taliban. In order to ensure families’ survival, early marriage is becoming more and more common, according to survey results.
26 percent of girls and 16 percent of boys show signs of depression, and 27 and 18 percent, respectively, of anxiety. They are anxious, sleep poorly, or have nightmares. Girls in particular report that many of the things they used to be happy about are no longer possible, such as going to parks or stores.
15-year-old Parishad* lives in northern Afghanistan and cannot go to school because there is no money to buy books and notebooks. When the family could no longer pay the rent, the landlord offered to buy one of the sons. The parents refused – and they lost the apartment. Parishad says, “Some days my dad can’t bring food and my brothers wake up hungry at night. I hardly eat, and I keep everything for my siblings. And when I see other girls going to school, I wish I could too. I can’t take it anymore. And I can’t Do anything about it.” Save the Children now provides cash assistance to the family to use according to their needs.
The organization has been supporting communities across Afghanistan since 1976, to protect children’s rights even in times of conflict, regime change and natural disasters. Children’s Rights runs programs in nine counties and works with partners in six other counties. In August 2021, Save the Children expanded aid again. The organization provides support in the areas of health, education, child protection, water, sanitation and hygiene, as well as food and livelihood security. As of September 2021, Save the Children has reached over 2.5 million people, including 1.4 million children.
The German organization Save the Children has been supporting children and their families in Afghanistan since 2008. The organization is currently implementing five projects, funded by about 9.5 million euros from the German Foreign Ministry, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the European Commission, the German Society for International Cooperation and private donations. This supports the realization of children’s rights in the areas of child protection, education, health and nutrition.
*Name changed for protection