Youth struggle as markets dwindle in Jawzjan, forcing graduates into street vending

A growing number of young men in Jawzjan province in the north of the country find themselves grappling with a lack of market opportunities, leading to a significant downturn in their vending businesses amid an overall rise in poverty.

This economic struggle has compelled some university graduates to turn to vending, citing a scarcity of job opportunities within state institutions. Faced with limited prospects, many of their peers have been forced to migrate in search of means to support their families.

Qadratullah, a vendor in Jawzjan, shared his experience of selling second-hand shoes in Shebarghan City, the central hub of Jawzjan. Despite holding a bachelor’s degree in psychology, the dearth of job opportunities has driven him to this work, supporting a family of 16 people.

“In the winter, I sell boots at auction, and in the summer, I sell cold water,” explained Qudratullah.

The primary demand of youth in Jawzjan is for the government to create employment opportunities.

“Our wish is that the government find work for us so that we can work from the roads to the offices,” expressed Nematullah, a Jawzjan resident.

“We engage in these demanding jobs out of necessity, and our desire is for better working conditions,” added Abdul Baqir, another resident of Jawzjan.

Concerns about job scarcity and the escalating poverty crisis in Afghanistan have heightened. A recent report from the International Red Cross Federation underscores the widespread economic challenges, revealing that over half of the Afghan population is currently experiencing this crisis, with 85% living below the poverty line.