Saturday, April 14, 2007

Ordinary Lives in the Shadow of War

A young Afghan boy looks up with concern when he and his father are confronted by a member of the country's new security forces.

Since the fall of the Taleban in 2001, a number of home-based schools have started up, like this one in a village near Jalalabad. "We still lack everything," said one village teacher. "We need more school buildings, books and pens."
Students with handicaps face huge difficulties in Afghanistan. "They are normally shunned by society here and are rarely given the opportunity of an education," explains Karima Sorkhabi, from the International Rescue Committee which manages a programme to integrate blind and deaf children into ordinary schools. Seven-year-old Akhbar Hussein Anwar (left) is one of those to have benefited.

Saeema's husband was shot dead in a local dispute five years ago. "It was terrible," she says. "My children lost their father and I couldn't support them. I was forced to beg in my village."
An aid project has since provided Saeema, 32, with a cow that enables her to sell dairy products in the market. Today she gets nine litres of milk per day from her cow, earning her up to 6,000 Afghanis ($100) per month. She can also provide her children with fresh milk and cheese.

[Source: Pictures and script by Peter Biro, from the International Rescue Committee ]

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