The Afghanistan World Foundation (AWF) has established a partnership with Dreadnaught Battalion to create Malalai Anaa Center for Women and School for Girls in the Maiwand District of Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.
Sonia’s recent trip to Kabul took a dramatic turn when she met Farouk, an eight-year-old boy. In Farouk’s story she realized that history would disappear in the dusty street realities of Kabul’s devastated cityscape. The boy was a symbolic of the struggle for survival that exists throughout the war-torn, but still proud country. Sonia organized a crew of freelance cameramen to capture a day in the life of this boy.
Farouk and his family live in a small one-room house in the distance suburbs of Kabul. Their only amenities are the kitchen area and bathroom. Six days a week Farouk sells newspapers and goes to school. He gets up at 5:30AM and has a 40-minute walk to catch the first of two buses into the city. He doesn’t return home until well after dark, sometimes 10-12 hours later. Farouk is the primary provider for his family of six.
After 30 years of civil strife, Afghanistan has almost no national health system in place. This means that the country faces a serious development challenge, and the international community has to build the public health and health care delivery systems virtually from scratch. Efforts to rebuild the health care system have been inadequately funded by the US reconstruction efforts requiring assistance from international organizations and the private sector. The average life expectancy in Afghanistan is 42 years.
The once robust and well respected educational system in Afghanistan has been left in dire state of neglect after over two decades of war. Military devastation of the country has destroyed over 70% of the schools and coupled with the repressive regime of the Taliban, the task of rebuilding the educational system is quite urgent. Two generations of Afghans are illiterate and under the repressive Taliban, formal schooling for girls was banned while boys were only taught an austere fundamental version of religious militancy. There is an urgent need to establish a viable institutional infrastructure for the Afghan educational system because education is the human capital needed for economic development and building a vibrant civil society.