I hate guns, says 11-year-old pens selling girl
KABUL (Pajhwok): “Buy pen, buy pen,” shouts a little girl as she wanders the streets of central capital Kabul keeping aside her school bag. The 11-year-old says “I hate guns.”
Ayesha, standing beside a fence at Park Zarnigar in Kabul, said the motive behind her selling pens was to struggle against terrorism and earn some money for her family.
Hiding sadness behind a smile, Ayesha told Pajhwok Afghan News: “I want to counter the war with pens. I hate war because it has made thousands of people suffer from psychological problems. It has killed and maimed a large number of people.”
She got second position at her fourth grade class in Ashyana School of Parwan province’s Sawom area. She has three sisters and two younger brothers. Her father is a labourer who works in Kabul and her brothers sell plastic bags.
Ayesha stood on a footpath as thousands of people passed by, with some noticing her poor condition. “I feel shy when people watch me. I have no option. I like study and assisting mother in household chores,” she added.
She said her family was yet to buy firewood to keep warm their home in winter because they had no enough money.
The girl in school uniform and with her school bag daily earns 20 to 150 afghanis to treat her little sister who is suffering ventricular septal defect (VSD) and to pay their house rent.
She said they had referred their ill-sister to the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) few months ago, but they did not know when she would be sent abroad for treatment.
Mehran Sadaqat, ARCS spokesman, said around 4,000 children were registered with their organisation and only 20 of them were being sent to Germany for treatment each month.
He said it was not possible to send all children at once to Germany as more children arrived at the organization every day to register.
Sadaqat said they had recently started work on a hospital for treating VSD defects. He said 70 percent of the construction process of the hospital had been completed.
He hoped the new hospital would help treat Afghan children and there would be no need to send them abroad.
Ayesha said: “Some people tell me I should work. But I am a child, I don’t know what should I do. I know even those having graduated from universities are now-a-days jobless. The best job for me is to sell pens.”
When asked about her future, she said: “I want to become a doctor to help and treat poor people.”
Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled (MoLSAMD) spokesman Ali Eftikhari said the ministry was against child labour.
He said children under the age of 18 years were no allowed to work under the ministry’s law.
Eftikhari said around two million children from war-affected families worked as child labourers. MoLSAMD created a strategy to combat child labour, but it was not implemented due to a lack of budget, he said.
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