Hardships force children in Kunar to become breadwinners

Poverty and economic hardships in Kunar province have compelled many children to take on burdens beyond their abilities in order to support their families.

Roman, a young boy, shoulders the responsibility of being the sole breadwinner for his family of 18.

He expressed that leaving school was a necessity to earn enough for his family’s sustenance.

Currently working at a repair shop in Kanar, Roman earns a meager daily income of 80 Afghanis (nearly $1).

“I am paid 80 afghanis. When I take it home in the evening, I have to afford the needs of 18 people in my family,” he said. “The work I am doing is heavy but I don’t have other solutions.”

Regrettably, Roman is not alone in this plight, as there are other children in Kanar who find themselves in similar circumstances, single-handedly supporting their families.

“We moved from a far place to Asadabad city (the center of Kunar). I could not continue schooling due to my work,” said another child. 

These children are compelled to undertake arduous tasks, often beyond their capabilities.

According to Zabihullah Mehsud, the head of the labor and social affairs department in Kunar for the Taliban, nearly 250 children in the region are forced to work due to their families’ dire poverty, resulting in a loss of education opportunities.

“We are finding such children and we are providing them some monthly assistance to prevent them from working,” he said.

A recent report from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) highlighted that in 2023, approximately 28.3 million people in Afghanistan would require humanitarian assistance, with children constituting 15.2 percent of this vulnerable population.