Afghanistan: Kabul street children to benefit from new partnership with UNICEF

UN children's agency and Afghan NGO join forces to provide training and education sites in Kabul
Kabul, 16 June 2005 -- Nearly 1,000 street working children in the Afghan capital of Kabul will benefit from a new agreement signed between the local non-governmental organization Aschiana and UNICEF. The agreement secures Aschiana's use of two sites in the city to provide training and education for the children, as part of an on-going partnership between the two organizations.

UNICEF has provided US$ 12,000 of funding towards the costs of the two centres, in the Karte Char and Salang Wat areas of the city. Between them, the two sites can accommodate 900 children, who will benefit from Aschiana's renowned programme of vocational training, literacy tuition and life skills. The UNICEF funding will secure use of the sites until September 2005, and the children's agency has also been pleased to assist with the negotiation of further support from the European Union-funded Child Rights Consortium.

UNICEF Representative in Afghanistan Bernt Aasen said today "Aschiana has been providing care and support for Kabul's street working children for many years, and has developed a reputation for its quality services that provide children with an opportunity to get a basic education, while still being able to provide the necessary economic support to their families."

"We hope that this new agreement between UNICEF and Aschiana, which is in addition to our ongoing support to the organization's programmes for out of school young people in central Afghanistan, will ensure that Aschiana's excellent work can continue into the future," Aasen added. "The further support shown by the Child Rights Consortium underlines the importance of this project, and emphasises how effective partnerships can really make a significant difference to the lives of Afghanistan's most vulnerable children."

An Aschiana survey in 2002 estimated that there were at least 37,000 children working on the streets of Kabul and that number has probably increased in recent years. Their programmes for street working children enable the youngsters to gain access to basic education, and learn a range of vocational skills, while being able to spend some part of their day continuing to earn income for their families. The project also works to assist street working children to enrol in formal schools, taking advantage of the flexible shift systems operated by most schools.

UNICEF is also supporting Aschiana in programmes for out of school adolescents and children in conflict with the law.

Media contacts

Edward Carwardine, Head of Public Information
+93 (0) 796 07400

Mohammad Rafi, Assistant Communication Officer
+93 (0) 796 07403

United Nations Children's Fund
Afghanistan Country Office
UNOCA Compound
Jalalabad Road
Kabul, Afghanistan