On a busy Kabul street traffic moves steadily with morning commuters. None slow or glance at the dirty sugar cane sack lying on its side in the middle of the median strip. Two street dogs lay guard at the foot of the sack. Next to them, cold ashes of a makeshift fire flutter in the breeze. At the approach of two strangers, the dogs bare their teeth and pulling flat their ears, let out a rumbling growl deep within their chest.
Inside the sack is eight year old Sameer. Orphaned at five, Sameer’s parents were killed during the conflict that has gripped Afghanistan for the past four decades. Sameer has lived on the streets, scraping an existence begging for food and sleeping wherever he can. The two street dogs are his only friends, laying guard at his feet when he sleeps. With no access to school, adequate shelter or healthcare, Sameer never knows where his next meal is coming from. Malnourished and with little hope for a better life, he begs for long hours every day and falls asleep hungry and exhausted.
Child labour in Afghanistan is a common occurrence. mong this group, the most vulnerable are the children working on the street. According to UNICEF, decades of conflict and instability In Afghanistan has eroded the family unit and the societal safety nets that protect the children. Access to basic services such as water, health and education are seriously compromised. Additionally, the street children face daily humiliation, stigmatisation and physical abuse. Since COVID -19, dangers to children have compounded as they are locked out of healthcare to keep the virus at bay.
Since rescued from the street by the staff of Mahboba’s Promise, Sameer has joined the other boys and girls from the Hope House in attending regular school classes. Dressed in new clothes and his hair cut, he looks refreshed. His brows crinkled at the bridge of his nose, he copies the letters on the blackboard. Later, playing football in the yard, he’s brimming as he kicks and chases the ball with other boys.
Though he misses the street dogs, Sameer is grateful to have a warm bed, clean cloths, plenty of nutritious food and new friends to play with. No longer forced to scrape an existence, Sameer can once more dream of a better future for himself. ‘I’m glad I can study so one day I can become an engineer or a doctor.’
Contributions to Mahboba’s Promise make a real difference in the lives of children, such as Sameer. Rescued from a life of poverty with no prospect of a livelihood, Sameer is given the chance to rewrite his future. He lives in a safe and secure home environment, has access to healthcare, nutritious food and education. He is given a second chance at life, to reach his full potential, and to be a major force in rebuilding his country.
You can help make a difference in the lives of children like Sameer. Click here to donate to our Rescue the Street Children of Afghanistan project and give the children a better future.