CCF First To Teach Afghani Children
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has designated CCF (Christian Children’s Fund) as the non-governmental organisation for education and child protection in Northern Afghanistan.
This recognition of CCF’s child-focused work in Afghanistan comes as CCF intensifies its efforts to assist the victims suffering the impact of years of conflict in this region.
CCF has set-up 43 Child Centered Spaces in the Northern provinces of Kunduz, Takhar and Badakhshan. These child-friendly spaces are part of CCF’s Trauma Programme, which was developed to address children’s emotional, physical and educational needs in the acute phases of an emergency. In Afghanistan, the sole focus of the Centers is to provide children with much needed educational assistance.
“The children are starved for education, because prior to CCF’s intervention, there had never been any educational facilities in many of these areas,” says Antica Soljan, Communications Manager for CCF NZ (Christian Children’s Fund of New Zealand).
For many children, this is their first educational experience. Amassed in tents, the children are learning to read and write, and are taking part in ‘normal’ schooling activities like singing songs and writing poetry.
“As soon as the tents open in the morning, the children run through the snow to get there, carrying their writing pads, supplied by CCF, tucked safely in plastic bags. Some children even enrolled at the Centers on their own, without assistance from their parents,” says Antica Soljan.
The demand for education is so great that an Afghani man recently walked three hours to Kunduz to deliver a letter asking CCF to bring education to the children in his village. No one from his home was literate so he walked to another village to get someone to write the letter.
CCF has trained more than 60 Afghani teachers to work and teach in the Centers. Most of the teachers are women who were not allowed to work under the Taliban.
Approximately 6,000 children are being assisted through the Centers, however there are thousands more children requiring this kind of educational assistance. It costs more than NZD$50,000 to establish and operate these Centers for six months, and CCF aims to establish a total of 85 Centers in Northern Afghanistan.
CCF reports that UNICEF, the UN and the Afghani government are planning to establish schools in Afghanistan by March of this year. If these schools are established in areas where CCF currently works, CCF will change its focus from education to assessing the nutritional needs of children in the local community and providing psychosocial assistance to children who have been affected by the war.
Although CCF is currently focusing on addressing the immediate aid needs of the Afghani children, it’s also mindful of the long-term development that will be required to re-build Afghanistan.
CCF’s President, John Schultz estimates that CCF will need to administer services in Afghanistan for the next 7 to 9 years.
“Now that we’re in Afghanistan, we’re committed to the country and its people for the long-term. We’ll help the Afghani people rebuild their society, and assist children with their ongoing health and education requirements,” says Antica Soljan.
Funding limitations are the only thing stopping CCF from keeping up with the need for more Child Centered Spaces. If you would like to make a donation to assist CCF’s efforts in Afghanistan, please call toll-free on 0800 223 100 or visit www.ccf.org.nz today.