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In Bamyan, many children forced into doing hard jobs

In Bamyan, many children forced into doing hard jobs

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Dec 06, 2016 - 14:56

BAMYAN CITY (Pajhwok): Poverty has forced a large number of children to drop out of school and engage in hard labour to eke out a living in central Bamyan province.

Samiullah is one of such children collecting firewood around mountains. The 15 years old is always busy working and unable to go to school despite his keen interest in educationinfo-icon.

Speaking to Pajhwok Afghan News, he says: “I leave my home before sunrise and walk three hours to reach the mountain, where I collect firewood for sale.”

He walks another three hours coming back home. “I take some dried bread and eat it when I get hungry,” adds the boy, whose father cannot work because of disability.

“My mother and I have to meet family needs; mom washes people’s clothes and carpets and clean homes in the neighbourhood to earn money,” he explains.

Samiullah who lives with his parents and two little sisters, comments: “I cannot take you to my home to see our problems because my father will get angry.”

His father does not like to talk about family problems. He says no one can be helpful to them. The man wants his family to be content with whatever it has.

At times, the boy brings home leftover food from hotels.

Mohammad Yaqin, 14, is another child from Bamyan province working daily on farms. Deprived of education, he says: “My father is too old to work; instead I have to work to fund family needs.”

Very interested in going to school, he could not do so because of poverty. He has to work on farms to earn a little money.

Bamyan officials confirmthe child labor problem. Mohammad SadiqAliyar, the provincial council head, says poverty caused most of families to force their children into work.

Meanwhile, Afghanistaninfo-icon’s Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) expressed concern over the situation of children in the province.

Acting head of the commission, Abdur Rauf Shayan, says 53 cases of violence such as underage or forced marriages, sexual assaults and suicides amongchildren have been registered over the past eight months.

The department concerned did not have the exact number of child labourers, but says a large number of minors are doing hard jobs in the province.

Labor and Social Affairs official Syed Ali Jan Alawi reveals a nursery where 145 children were trained in Bamyan has recently been closed by the ministry concerned.

“We have sent several suggestions to the ministry not to close the nursery, a vital need for vulnerable children, but we haven’t received any response,” he regrets.

The governor’s house also confirms many children in the province are busy in labour. The governor’s spokesman, Abdur Rahman Ahmadi, estimates: “Fifty percent of people in Bamyan are poor.”

Children of poor families were vulnerable and partially deprived of basic rights, he acknowledges, saying eliminating poverty needs a long-term strategy.

Distribution of a bag of flour or two kilograms of beans or sugar would not improve people’s economic situation, he believes, asking each ministry to have a specific programme for poverty eradication.

According to a 2014 survey by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, 2.7 million children are engaged in hard physical labour in Afghanistan.

mds/mud

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