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A harsh land. A conflict that has lasted decades. Twenty-two million people living in poverty. Growing up in Afghanistan means growing up surrounded by violence.

Large-scale armed conflict in Afghanistan dates back to the Cold War. When the Soviet Army attacked the country in 1979, it sparked a complex international conflict which lasted until their withdrawal in 1989. Armed groups continued to struggle for power and control until 1994, when the Taliban emerged and established a new regime. Since 2001, the Taliban has been targeted by international forces who invaded the country following the September 11 attacks in New York.

After decades of war, peace has not yet reached Afghanistan.

Growing up in Afghanistan means growing up surrounded by violence, poverty and exclusion. Entire generations have never known peace. Thousands of children have been separated from their parents, abandoned in national orphanages or forced into labour.

Many children work in hazardous jobs, such as mining or heavy agricultural work such as poppy seed cultivation and processing. For many children in Afghanistan, being beaten and humiliated is a daily reality; it is legally permitted and common for teachers to physically punish children.

In a very conservative society, young Afghan girls are particularly disadvantaged. Early marriage and the exchange or selling of daughters, often involving girls under the age of twelve, are common practices.

What we do
A harsh reality in a conflict stricken country - that is what children in Afghanistan have to deal with. War Child Holland is proud to support War Child UK, our colleagues in London, in their mission to help extremely vulnerable and marginalised children through their projects. These children - who are often working street-children, displaced children, children with disabilities and girls - are finding ways to regain their self-confidence, access education in safe environments, learn about their rights and start raising their voices to reclaim their position in society.

In cities like Kabul, education is often not a priority. War Child UK is changing that reality by raising awareness among children and adults, to show them how there can be more opportunities through education. Together with the Empowerment Centre for Women (ECW) and Women and Children Empowerment Organisation (WACEO), they improve children’s wellbeing and provide a child-friendly, protective environment.

Together with communities, parents and teachers, War Child UK works to influence the decision-making processes that affect these children and improve their understanding of child participation and child rights. Through media productions and debates, they call attention to harmful practices such as early marriage, child labour, child trafficking, sexual abuse and physical punishment.