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Food and Hope for Street Children in Afghanistan

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Earlier this year, the BBC aired a report about the street children in Afghanistan and how the Aschiana Foundation was trying to help them. These children are not in school and are forced to work or beg in order to support their families. 

The cruel years of war have had a devastating impact on Afghan children.  Poverty, malnutrition, and illiteracy create a vicious cycle. These kids are in constant danger on the streets, begging for bread for their family.

In my follow-up article to the BBC report, I suggested a take-home ration for these children to help get them off the streets. This would make an excellent addition to the literacy and tutoring Aschiana is providing. A partnership with a larger organization would be needed to get a take-home ration initiative going.

My first thought was the World Food Programme (WFP), with their vast experience in this area. With just an exchange of a few messages to get the idea out there, WFP is now partnering with the Aschiana Foundation on a take-home ration program.  

Challiss McDonough of WFP says, “We are supporting more than 2,000 children at Aschiana centers around Kabul.  They receive a full food-for-training ration for their families, consisting of wheat, pulses, vegetable oil and salt.  It’s the beginning of a very positive partnership between WFP and Aschiana to help these children build a brighter future for themselves.”

The Aschiana Foundation helps children who cannot attend school full time because they must work to support themselves and their families. (courtesy Aschiana Foundation).

The road ahead in Afghanistan needs to focus on child feeding, rehabilitation, and education. Supporting the work of Aschiana, WFP, and other agencies helping children in Afghanistan is most crucial.

In addition, there is a serious situation developing with potential shortages of supplementary Plumpy’nut for Afghan infants. The supplementary Plumpy’nut is vital for treating malnutrition in children. Since WFP has such low funding, this pipeline break could occur early next year if action is not taken.

There has been so much debate on what to do about Afghanistan. One thing there should be no debate on is the importance of food for education for the children.  A systematic program reaching all children is where the focus needs to be on building Afghanistan’s future.

For more information visit the Aschiana Foundation and the World Food Programme.

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About William Lambers

William Lambers is the author of several books including Ending World Hunger: School Lunches for Kids Around the World. This book features over 50 interviews with officials from the UN World Food Programme and other charities discussing school feeding programs that fight child hunger. He is also the author of Nuclear Weapons, The Road to Peace: From the Disarming of the Great Lakes to the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Open Skies for Peace, The Spirit of the Marshall Plan: Taking Action Against World Hunger, School Lunches for Kids Around the World, The Roadmap to End Global Hunger, From War to Peace and the Battle of Britain. He is also a writer for the History News Service. His articles have been published by newspapers including the Cincinnati Enquirer, Des Moines Register, the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Buffalo News, San Diego Union Tribune, the Providence Journal, Free Lance-Star (VA), the Bakersfield Californian, the Washington Post, Miami Herald (FL), Chicago Sun-Times, the Patriot Ledger (MA), Charleston Sunday Gazette Mail (WV), the Cincinnati Post, Salt Lake Tribune (UT), North Adams Transcript (MA), Wichita Eagle (KS), Monterey Herald (CA), Athens Banner-Herald (GA) and the Duluth News Journal. His articles also appear on History News Network (HNN) and Think Africa Press. Mr. Lambers is a graduate of the College of Mount St. Joseph in Ohio with degrees in Liberal Arts (BA) and Organizational Leadership (MS). He is also a member of the Feeding America Blogger Council.
  • http://2sparrowsfoundation.org Two Sparrows Foundation

    Great article William Lambers..We are a US non-profit 501c3 charity also focusing on street child education needs in Kabul. We think you have captured the essence of the problem street kids face in Afghanistan. We agree completely this street child issue is a continuing problem in Afghanistan. The work that you have done to write this article and your experience in Afghanistan impressed us enormously. You make an excellent case for the need for advocacy and support for Afghan street children to break the cycle of poverty. Best success in your future writing.

  • Patricia Silberman

    The children and families of Aschiana are extremely grateful to Mr. Lambers for bringing Aschiana to the attention of the World Food Program. The WFP’s assistance is saving lives every day since the people in the displaced persons camps have lost everything. This sustanance will give them the strength as they try to develop new, productive lives that will give stability to Afghanistan.

  • http://www.redwebzine.org jeffrey hillard

    One of Mr. Lambers most crucial blogposts in the past year. I had no clue how urgent and wildly heralded the Aschiana project has been, to begin with. Now, Bill Lambers has specificed the reach of the assistance. Many thanks for this.

    My webzine, RED! the breakthrough ‘zine has published a few interviews with William Lambers on his global work. Check the archives. His is a very significant voice in the fight against world hunger.