Afghanistan’s child labor is occurring in the midst of war. Families are taking their children out of school to work in order to make ends meet…
Voice of America came across two families which put their children to work at a brick factory. One family is working to pay off a $1500 loan to this same company a decade ago. The children from both families work daily to make brick from mud clay.
One of the parents, Razi Khan, said, “By God, I am frustrated with my life. I cannot get loans [for food or other basics] from shopkeepers, nor can I get money from the owner of the factory.” It was a necessity for the children to begin working.
One of the children explained, “My father works here by himself as we don’t have any brothers. If we had brothers, we would have gone to school to study.”
Indentured servitude is legal in Afghanistan, so the factory officials are not concerned. A secretary at the factory said, “It is not that they are confined here, but they have to pay back the money they owe.”
When the governor of the province, Salim Khan Kunduzi, was questioned, he was apparently unaware of the situation. “I will get more [and] accurate information. My job is to listen to people’s problems and then find solutions to them.”
But after the story aired on VOA’s TV Asha and appeared on its social media platforms, people worldwide donated thousands of dollars to help. Reporter Zabihullah Ghazi, along with other journalists and activists, returned to the factory to deliver the money to the two working families. The heads of the families promised that their children would now attend school. “I was trying to pay back the loan but now, as I will not owe any money, the older children will work with me and the younger ones will go to school,” said Burhanuddin, the head of the second family.
One of the children could not control her tears of joy. “I am very happy. I will go to school.”
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