From the ground up
In war-torn Afghanistan displaced children find hope to receive an education
Rabidullah is just 12 years old. He’s a tough kid. Smart, energetic and interested in the world around him. But Rabidullah is living a life interrupted by war.
In October 2017, fighting between ISIS, Taliban and Government Troops uprooted the boy, who was attending the fourth grade at the Teko School in Nangarhar’s Achin District. Now Rabidullah lives in the Shaheedan Village displacement camp. There are no school facilities, books, classrooms or teachers for Rabidullah and the countless other kids like him that lack access to safe, high-quality free education.
“I suffered. I lost my home, my classmates and my teacher, and was left without a school, class or books,” said Rabidullah.
While life in the refugee camp is tough, a new light is providing an opportunity for young people like Rabidullah to find a piece of safety and normalcy in a world turned upside down.
With financial support from Education Cannot Wait, a global fund dedicated to helping the 75 million children and youth worldwide who live in crisis-affected areas and are deprived from reliable education, a new community-based school is being established in the Shaheedan camp.
While the school gets started, a number of community activists, Mullahs and elders (“shuras”) have come together to volunteer to teach the displaced children living in the village.
“I will start teaching these pupils to read and write and will mobilize others to dedicate time to teach the camp children,” said Mr. Rafiqullah, one of the first volunteers to sign up to teach in the Shaheedan camp.
This means new hope for the children of war living in Afghanistan, and a new hope to shape young minds, end illiteracy and empower a whole new generation of Afghanis as the nation works toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG4) to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”
“I thought that our children’s future had been destroyed and lost forever. I could not imagine that my children would find a place to learn,” said Rabidullah’s Mother. “This is a very remote area, an isolated, rugged desert without government facilities. However, this program has revived our hopes and will help build our future.”
With financial support from Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the Welfare Association for the Development of Afghanistan (WADAN) implements community-based interventions to provide education for children affected by crisis in six districts of Nangarhar Province: Khogyani, Surkhroad, Behsood, Shiwa, Kama and Rodat. The goal of the project is to provide safe, quality, free education to 10,000 children that are not able to attend school. These children and youth include returnees, internally displaced people (IDP) and host community children aged 3-18. As part of global efforts to ensure inclusive access to education, the programme in Afghanistan also focuses on children with disabilities and prioritizes education opportunities for girls, young women and the most vulnerable.