Concerns grow over increase in child labor in Afghanistan

A growing number of children are falling behind in their education in Afghanistan due to poverty and destitution as they are forced to abandon school and find work.

One young victim of Afghanistan’s ongoing economic crisis is Osman, who works on the streets of Kabul in a bid to help put food on the table for his family.

Osman said: “We have to toil on the streets from dawn till dusk. If we don’t work, our families won’t have anything to eat.”

Yusuf is another young boy who shares a similar story. He said he dreams of being able to return to school. “I really like school, but no one is at home to work,” he said.

Activists meanwhile painted a grim story about the number of children forced to work in the country. They said three primary reasons are behind the growing problem: the long-standing war, pervasive poverty, and deeply entrenched cultural factors.

“Afghanistan is a nation grappling with severe poverty, and children are compelled to work to provide for themselves and their families,” said Fariba Farhadi, a civil society activist.

On the occasion of World Protection of Education Day, observed on September 9th annually, the US embassy for Afghanistan, operating from Qatar, underscored the fundamental right to quality education for all children in Afghanistan.

The embassy emphasized the need for schools to serve as safe havens for children to pursue their educational aspirations.

The United Nations has also released a concerning report, revealing that over seven million migrant children, including children from Afghanistan, are being denied access to education.

The report highlights a distressing 50 percent increase in the number of children deprived of education compared to last year.

Asifa Stankzai, a migrant rights activist, cited economic hardships and administrative hurdles as significant factors contributing to the educational deprivation faced by Afghan children.

“It is anticipated that international organizations, through economic support programs for migrant children, will play a pivotal role in rekindling their educational aspirations,” she said.