JAWZJAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan — Child laborers in Afghanistan’s northern Jawzjan province, grappling with poverty, have sought aid from organizations to pursue education over work.
Many children, like Abdul Matin, a young vendor of Yakhni (soup) in the capital Sheberghan, have sacrificed their schooling to support their families. Matin, responsible for a 13-member family, aspires for a different future.
Echoing similar sentiments, Ajmal, another child laborer, underscored the urgency for educational opportunities. “If I don’t work, my siblings will starve. Aid organizations need to facilitate our education to prevent us from missing out on learning,” he stated.
Mohammad, a garlic seller whose father is also a laborer, expressed the strain of providing for a ten-person family. “My brother and I work to support them,” he said.
The number of child laborers in Afghanistan is widely debated. Estimates suggest over one million children are involved in labor, a figure the Taliban contests, claiming fewer than ten thousand child workers exist in the country.