Work is mandatory than school to feed my mum: Kid
QALA-E-NAW (Pajhwok): A number of workers to protect children rights in northwestern Badghis province complain about the miserable plight of children, alleging the government and NGOs of turning their back to protect children rights.
Noor Mohammad, a seven-year-old kid who like many other children collects plastic bags from rubbles in Badghis to eke out livelihood for his family, said he spent most of his day searching for plastics in wastes.
Wearing shabby clothes, he said he had no time for school or playing with other kids. “My father is jobless and I have to collect plastic and sell them to earn for my family,” he said while working under scorching sun.
Noor Mohammad said his father worked as a daily wager before but now he could not find any job. His father urged him to collect plastic from bazaar. “I’m not at school, but if my father gets a job I’ll go to school. I want to play on the streets like other boys, but…,” he said in choking voice.
“My clothes stink. Some boys who go to school and see me like this, laugh at me,” he complained. He has been collecting plastic since last one year. He said he was selling big plastic bottles up to four afs and smaller bottles at one afs.
Along with Noor Mohammad there are hundreds of other children who work on the streets on daily basis, collecting plastics and soft drink empty bottles.
Shah Zaman, 12, said he had been collecting empty canes for the last two years. His father has passed away and he lives with his mother and younger brother in Shamal Darya locality of Qala-e-Naw.
He said originally he was from Maqur district, but due to insecurity they had moved to the city. As a kid he already has huge responsibility of taking care of his family.
“I have to work. I can’t go to school or study. I want to go to school but who will feed my mum and my brother,” he questioned.
Shah Zaman said he earned 3,000 afs per month through collecting canes. He could not even imagine not working and going to school at this situation, he said. He said his condition would change for better if the government helped his family.
Abdul Sami, 13, who goes to school and works at a workshop, said he earns 2,000 afs per month and uses it for his school expenses.
He complained about the hard and tiring work, saying that some days he worked until 10:00 pm late night.
He said his father is dead and his other brothers were also doing the same jobs. These children asked the government and aid organizations to help them in solving their problems. No organization has so far helped them, they said.
Public works and social affairs director Mohammad Naim Malimzada said that the number of working children in Ghor City and districts have been increased this year as compared to the past.
No surveys have so far done in the province to find out exact number of working children, he said, adding the children there currently faced 23 kinds of different challenges. He said that the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) would launch survey next week in the province to identify the number of working and begging children.
Malimzada added that some children were forced by their families to work hard and feed their families. “Some children are professional beggars, the number of these children would identify in the survey,” he said.
He said that the working or begging children were not given any aid in any way so far, but they would be given aid after the planned survey was completed.
Currently 120 orphans and homeless children were being kept in orphanages and provided with education up to third grade of primary school, Malimzada added.
Public Works and Social Affairs Director Mohammad Naim Malimzada added that the Children’s Support Network (CSN) was currently active in the provincial capital and in Qadas, Maqur and Abkamari districts where it sensitized parents on their children’s rights and encouraged them to send their children to schools.
Most of the children in informal labor/working on daily wages and in beggary were prevented by their parents to get education, Malimzada said.
Deputy Education Director Abdullah Mashkwani also said that some families preferred their children to work instead of going to school because of their economic problems.
The education department is working to establish primary schools in Abkamari, Qadas and Maqur districts of the province with the support of UNICEF, he said, adding the department also plans to open similar schools in Jwand and Bala Murghab districts where security situation is less stable.
Not only in Ghor, but the children in the capital Kabul and other provinces also were in heavy works. According to the ministry of Public Works and Social Affairs, around 6.5 million children in Afghanistan faced different challenges.
International Human Rights Convention provides for protection of children from all kinds of laborious/hardcore work and provide for their right to education.
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