It was not very difficult to spot Sahra amongst the 150 odd attendees at the Photo and Art Exhibition on street working children under the Every Last Child Campaign held on November 30, 2017 at Bagh-e-Babur, Kabul, Afghanistan.
Conducted by Save the Children, the event aimed at giving onlookers a peek into the plight on working street children in Kabul. Hopefully, exhibits from this exhibition will act as a means to urge the government into enacting the Child Act as soon as possible. Children are forced to undertake working at a tender age in order to support themselves and often also their families who are forced to rely on these children as a means to cope with extreme poverty. As a result, these children end up leading excruciatingly difficult lives.
Take the case of 13 year old Sahra whose works are also exhibited here. She is only one of the many street children who stand deprived of even their basic rights. The only breadwinner for her family, Sahra is going through tough times to say the least. She sells plastic bags during the day to support her family. "Working on the street is very tough", she admits. "People are treating us like slaves, as if we are not human beings."
Sahra was one of the more active participants at the photography training session conducted at this program; eager to absorb information and often the first child to raise her hand enthusiastically to answer questions. "I am passionate to learn photography", she says, "and believe I can be a good photographer in future to earn money. This is a good opportunity for us to reflect on the sad realities of our living conditions through taking pictures and showing to the people and government entities to provide us our basic rights."
At the event, Mrs Fawzia Koofi, Head of Women Affairs, Civil Society and Human Rights Commission of Lower House of Parliament informed that she had made significant effort towards patronizing the Child Act in the parliamentary agenda. Hopefully, the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled (MoLSAMD) will establish a National Strategy on the Children at Risk and will attempt to resource it through the national budget to support these children and get them their basic rights in an effective manner.
Save the Children in Afghanistan has been advocating for the rights of the these street children in Afghanistan for over many years - these children are left behind and often forgotten. All children have the right to learn , play and thrive - whoever they are and wherever they are - we are doing whatever it takes to shine a light on the need for basic child rights for Every Last Child in Afghanistan.