In my article Food and Hope for Street Children in Afghanistan, I talked about a promising collaboration between the UN World Food Programme and the Aschiana Foundation; the idea being that food for Afghan children can give them an opportunity to get the education and the training they need to have a future. It’s the one chance Afghanistan has.
The World Food Programme (WFP) has provided photos of this initiative. It’s a life-changer for street children, who live in poverty and are forced to beg just to get basics. With rations provided to them by WFP, they can concentrate on tutoring and training provided at Aschiana Foundation Centers. It’s a safety net for the street children and their families.
WFP’s Food for Training Program in Afghanistan provides rations for street children at Aschiana Foundation Centers. Funding is needed by WFP and Aschiana to ensure these programs can be maintained and expanded to reach impoverished children. (photo courtesy WFP/Assadullah Azhari)
Many of a society’s ills can be fixed if children get the right nutrition and education. It’s vital we remember this now, when many people want to turn away from Afghanistan.
A massive drought has struck parts of Afghanistan this year. Food shortages exist in many provinces. Food prices are high. Malnutrition is likely to get worse. The UN World Food Programme is facing a huge funding shortage despite the recent $40 million donation by USAID. The international community needs to come together and invest in fighting hunger in Afghanistan.
The food rations are critical for Afghan children. The Aschiana Foundation says, “Unless Afghanistan’s children are given a chance to develop and learn, the country continues to risk an unstable future.” (photo courtesy WFP/Assadullah Azhari)
The Afghanistan drought crisis comes at the exact time Congress is proposing reducing international food aid, one of the most inexpensive foreign policy initiatives. Reducing Food for Peace and other hunger-fighting programs will harm Afghanistan and other countries where development and peace are on the line.
Support for the World Food Programme, Aschiana Foundation, Save the Children, Catholic Relief Services, World Vision, Oxfam, and others is vital at this stage. There should be no withdrawal of humanitarian aid from Afghanistan.