August 10, 2022
A year after the Taliban seized power, an economic crisis, drought and new restrictions have taken the lives of Afghan girls. A quarter of girls show signs of depression.
the report Breaking point: Children’s lives a year after the Taliban seized power, shows that 97% of families find it difficult to feed their children. Girls in particular are victims of this deteriorating situation. Chris Nyamandi, Director of Save the Children Afghanistan: “Since the Taliban took power, the lives of children in Afghanistan have become more difficult. They toil in brick factories, pick up dirt or house servants instead of going to school.” Nearly 80% of all children say they have gone to bed hungry in the past month, with girls twice as likely to have it. They get less food than their siblings.
Food shortages have long-term effects on children’s health. Nine out of 10 girls say they ate less food than last year and are concerned that they are losing weight and have no energy to study, play or work. The mental health of young girls is also poor. The report shows that 26% of girls show signs of depression, compared to 16% of boys. 27% of girls show signs of an anxiety disorder, compared to 18% of boys.
Girls have trouble sleeping because they worry and have nightmares. They reported excluding them from activities that made them happy, such as spending time with family and friends and going to parks and stores.
After the Taliban seized power in August last year, thousands of high school girls were ordered to stay home, reversing years of progress on gender equality. The girls told Save the Children that they were angry and disappointed that they could no longer go to school. The survey shows that 46% of girls no longer go to school, compared to 20% of boys.
Fifteen-year-old Parishad* lives in northern Afghanistan. She does not go to school, because sometimes her parents cannot feed all their children, and there is definitely no money to buy books and school supplies. Her father is a day laborer and her mother cooks for wealthy families. Last year they had to flee their village, renting a house in the city. But in the end, they could no longer afford the rent. The owner offered to buy one of the sons, but her parents refused. They now have shelter in a remote suburb through a relative.
Parishad: “Some days my father earns nothing and then we have no food. My brothers wake up in the middle of the night hungry and scream for food. I don’t eat myself, I provide food for my farmers and my sisters. When they are very hungry, I feel very sad and cry a lot. Then I go To the neighbors to ask for food. Sometimes they help me and sometimes they say they have nothing.” Parishad also wishes to go to school. “When I see other girls going to school, I want that too. We don’t have school supplies and we don’t have money to buy books. I can’t change it.”
After the withdrawal of international forces last year, the Taliban seized power on August 15. The international community withdrew billions of euros in international aid, US dollars or other foreign exchange reserves for Afghanistan were frozen and the banking system collapsed. This led to an economic crisis. The drought – the worst of the past 30 years – has also exacerbated poverty. Save the Children spoke to many children and according to them the economic situation is causing more child marriage. Especially girls should get married. Of the children who said they had been suggested in the last year to improve their family’s financial situation, 88% were girls.
Nyamandi: “Solving problems is not just limited to Afghanistan itself, political leaders around the world must again provide funding for emergency aid. Afghanistan’s banking system needs to be revived because a generation of children is at risk of losing their youth to child labor, forced marriage and child rights abuses.” “.
Save the Children has been protecting the rights of children and children across Afghanistan since 1976, including during periods of conflict, regime change and natural disasters. As the crisis escalated in August 2021, Save the Children expanded its aid to support the growing number of children in need. Save the Children provides health care, food, education, child protection, shelter, water and sanitation.
*Name has been changed for guest safety