The Challenges for Children in Afghanistan
Sustainable Development Goals: 2, 3, 4, 16
- SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
- SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-Being
- SDG 4 - Quality Education
- SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
Save the Children is working to meet the most urgent needs of Afghan children and families
We're supporting newly-arriving Afghan refugee families seeking safety in America
As the national leader in protecting children in emergencies, Save the Children has established a safe play and activity area for kids at a temporary shelter in northern Virginia, where kids can have a moment to be kids again, begin to express themselves and cope during this scary and stressful time.
In addition, our emergency response staff has helped set up a private space for families with small babies at a transition center in northern Virginia, where parents and caregivers can change diapers and breastfeed their children.
We also stand ready to support at other temporary shelters opening up across the country to support refugee children and families, as well as provide essential child-focused items, including hygiene kits, diapers, wipes and COVID-prevention materials.
Our dedication to the Afghan people and our commitment to stay and deliver remains strong
Save the Children has been helping families in Afghanistan since 1976.
There has never been a more important time to affirm our dedication to the Afghan people and our commitment to stay and deliver.
At present, we have had to suspend our life-saving programs but we plan to resume our work as soon as it is safe to do so.
It is vital that the safety on the ground increases so that we can start delivering key life-saving services again. Many families and communities are reliant on our food distributions to eat and our healthcare services when they get sick.
A war zone is no place for a child.
To save children’s lives, all parties to the conflict must end the violence and protect civilians.
All parties must respect their obligations under international humanitarian law.
All efforts must be made to agree on an enduring peace settlement so that future generations of children can grow up in a country free of the fear of violence, death, and injury.
Continuing to invest in Afghanistan's future - and the future of Afghan children - is critical to ensure progress is not undone.
The Challenges for Children in Afghanistan
There is not a single child in Afghanistan today that has not grown up amidst conflict.
Chronic conflict and political instability have strained Afghanistan throughout its modern history. Extreme natural disasters, especially droughts, have only made matters worse, thrusting the country's economy and infrastructure into ruins and its people into extreme poverty.
Afghanistan is among the worst conflict-affected countries to be a child. Tragically, millions of Afghan children are growing up in high-intensity conflict zones, forcing many families to flee. Over half of the world's refugees come from three countries – Afghanistan ranks second, at 2.7 million.
Save The Children Results for Children in Afghanistan
Save the Children provides health, education, child protection, nutrition and livelihoods services, reaching over 1.6 million Afghans in 2020.
A History of Our Work for Children in Afghanistan
Thanks to your generosity, Save the Children has been a leading charity in Afghanistan since 1976, with the aim to ensure children can grow up healthy, educated and safe.
The targeting of nongovernmental organizations – such as the January 2018 attack on our office in Jalalabad – makes our work difficult and dangerous. So we’re bolstering our emergency preparedness and protection, ensuring systems are in place to keep our staff safe and continue our urgent work.
Together with local communities, government ministries and partners, we’re working to improve children’s physical and emotional health, nutrition, sanitation and hygiene, education, protection, food security and livelihoods.
We’re improving the delivery of crucial health and nutrition services to underserved communities. We’ve made great progress in leading community-based education, recognized as a key solution for out-of-school children. Protection remains central to our work, and we’re increasing the scope and quality of our programs. We reach hundreds of thousands of children through our humanitarian programs each year. And we continue to give children a voice to ensure that their rights, such as girls’ education, are guaranteed.
Here are some recent examples of our work:
A healthy start in life
- Save the Children is training health care workers and supporting government health initiatives
- In underserved communities, we’re supporting rural health centers and mobile health teams and raising awareness on proper health, sanitation and hygiene practices
- To treat malnourished children, we’re operating therapeutic feeding sites and providing nutrition education
- We recently integrated mental health support into our health and nutrition programs
The opportunity to learn
- We’re working with the education ministry to establish community-based and accelerated classes, with the goal of returning children to school by grade 7
- Through our community-based early childhood care and development centers, we’re supporting early cognitive development so crucial for lifelong learning
- We’re advocating for early education, and we were instrumental in drafting the first-ever national preschool curriculum
- We recently introduced our proven Numeracy Boost approach in multiple schools, including teacher training
- We provided training in vision and hearing screening, as well as in adapting classrooms to better serve children with disabilities
- We’re providing innovative information technology that allows teachers to share knowledge, experiences, challenges and best practices
Protection from harm
- We’re working to reduce the number of children involved in harmful child labor, improving access to protective environments and supporting youth and families by offering social services and vocational training
- We’re advocating for children’s rights and building the capacity for child protection at the government and community levels
- Our teams are actively engaging communities in changing behaviors and attitudes so children’s rights are observed and respected
- Through sponsorship, we collaborated with the government to develop the Child Rights in Islam handbook and engaged religious leaders to proactively promote child rights and protection
- We welcomed the endorsement by presidential decree of the Law for the Protection of Child Rights and continue to advocate for its implementation
- At present, we have had to suspend our life-saving programs in Afghanistan but we plan to resume our work as soon as it is safe to do so
- As the United States begins welcoming newly-arriving Afghan children and families, Save the Children has mobilized its emergency response team to meet their most urgent needs
Photos: Anna Pantelia / GMU / Save the Children.