Kabul, September 2016. EUPOL staff members conducted a donation campaign to support Aschiana children’s centre in Kabul – a refuge for close to five hundred vulnerable children – as part of a community outreach effort. The donations went to boosting the children’s education.
The Aschiana children’s centre has supported Afghan orphans and street working children for over a decade, providing services such as basic education, access to health care, vocational training and recreational activities. The centre reaches out to over 5, 000 children between the ages of seven and fifteen in Kabul, Herat, Mazar-e-Sharif, Khost and Paktika provinces in Afghanistan. It also provides emergency shelter for internally displaced children.
The funds raised by EUPOL staff were used to buy hundreds of stationery packs to include notebooks, colored pencils, pens and paper as well as geometry sets for the children.
While handing over the scholastic materials to the children, the EUPOL Head of Mission Ms. Pia Stjernvall encouraged them to study hard for a better future: “You can become whatever you dream of if you can read and write; you can do anything in Afghanistan and, in fact, in the whole world.” She also told them about the EUPOL misssion’s work to support civilian policing in Afghanistan.
The donation campaign involved personal and collective efforts from EUPOL staff members. “I hope that our contribution will bring the children joy. This is about cultivating a culture of thinking about others. Simple initiatives like this can mean a lot if everybody thinks this way,” said EUPOL General Affairs Officer Evelyn Sarah.
15-year-old Pashtana attends the Aschiana centre and said she had acquired practical skills in addition to learning how to read and write: “I have learned to make clothes for myself and hope to sell the clothes I will make in the market in the future.”
Aschiana General Programme Manager Mr. Nazar Mohammad thanked EUPOL staff members for their generosity in promoting the children’s rights. He revealed that the centre continuously works to raise awareness on the importance of educating children amongst the families and caretakers of the street working children. “These children have enormous talent but we need to open the gates for them by supporting their education,” he said.