“More schools less bombs”: Children call on Liz Truss and G7 leaders to Protect Education for Afghan Children
School children at an internally displaced persons (IDPs) camp in Kabul | Credit: Alamy
The UK Government and its allies have the power to change the lives of Afghanistan’s children. At the G7 meeting in Liverpool, it's time for them to act by upholding their right to education.
We've all been watching the situation in Afghanistan since the Taliban took control in August. The crisis in Afghanistan is a children’s crisis. Decades of conflict have meant every child in Afghanistan has grown up knowing fear and suffering. Children caught up in the recent upheaval have been through traumatic experiences and millions remain displaced from their homes. They are hungry, unsafe and out of school.
We know that without safe access to school, children in Afghanistan face an incredibly uncertain future. Missing out will have a life-long impact on their health, prosperity and security and they risk becoming more vulnerable, without a safe space to learn amongst their peers.
On the 11th of December, G7 leaders will meet in Liverpool, where the UK’s Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, is in charge of the agenda. We need G7 leaders to use every available avenue to ensure that all children in Afghanistan have their right to education upheld.
The situation remains very precarious and uncertain. Many children aren’t able to go back to school, don’t have a computer, phone, or tablet and have no way of learning. In some places, schools are closed and children have no idea when they will reopen, while in parts of the country boys have returned to the classroom without their female peers. Despite the immense challenges they face, children in Afghanistan want the same things children in the UK want: to be safe, make friends, play and learn, and to feel loved and supported.
Our teams across the country hear this from children every day. Eight year-old Samim*, told us he misses his class and teachers, adding "I wish schools opened back up". Afri*, 12, said school closures meant "all my wishes would not come true". And Ferhana*, 11, wrote, "We have to study to have a useful future."
In a show of solidarity with their peers in Afghanistan, children in the UK have created letters and drawings after hearing about what Samim*, Afri* and Ferhana* are going through.
“The Aghan children, both boys and girls, should go to school.” Isabelle, 9 years old.
“If I didn’t go to school, I wouldn’t be able to write and have a time of caring and helping.” Willow, girl aged 7
“I love going to school because I make lots of friends and I need to learn. I want you to help the children of Afghanistan go to school.” says Emily, 8 and a half years old.
The message is clear. British children know that learning is a lifeline.
The UK Government must prioritise the education of Afghanistan's children. And at the G7 is a critical opportunity to influence the situation.
We’re calling on the Government and Liz Truss to protect all children’s lives and futures this weekend and beyond: they must be at the heart of discussions about Afghanistan.
*names have been changed
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