LFT in Kabul, Afghanistan
Standing with the Hazara community at the Sayed al Shuhada School
On 8 May 2021, a car bombing, followed by two more improvised explosive device (IED) blasts, occurred in front of Sayed al-Shuhada school in Dashte Barchi in Western Kabul, an area where the majority of the residents are from the highly excluded and persecuted minority where they live in poverty.
This is not the first or only spate of attacks against this community which previously have left at least 85 people dead and 147 injured. The majority of the casualties have been girls between 11 and 15 years old. The attack took place in a neighbourhood that has frequently been attacked by militants belonging to the various terrorist organisations.
The LFT has been appraising the situation with members of the local and diaspora Hazara communities and spider-diagram mapped ways to try to empower girls and the injustice facing the community.
Through your support, we can make a difference to the lives of the Hazara community. Having fled to Kabul to seek refuge from previous acts of terror, they continue to live in abject fear of attacks and worsening poverty, and it is imperative we give the mothers children a better chance!
Our objectives are to:
- Improve hygiene practices at Sayed al Shuhada Girls High School through constructing safe toilet/washroom and training of teachers on sanitation and hygiene. Over 7,000 girls attend the school in three separate shifts but lack adequate sanitation and have very poor hygiene knowledge;
- Provide mothers (those who are sending their children at Sayed Al Shuhada Girls High School), with knowledge and skills needed to start small businesses/jobs in the market through a Mothernomics programme; and
- Provide Psychological support with focus on trauma of children and family members of the recent security incident/attack victims on school where 86 students lost their lives and more than 300 were injured.
Background and Context – Sayed Al Shuhada Girls High School is located in the most marginalized district of Kabul province and limited access to services and support from government and other organizations. This school has more than 7,500 boys and 7,000 girls in three shifts mainly from the Shia Hazara ethnic group living in western area of the capital. The average income of families living around the school is $50/month.
Over the last few years, almost all terrorist attacks in Kabul happened in Hazara populated areas, and Hazaras across Afghanistan and Pakistan have been targeted systematically; multiple Hazara learning centres, protests, religious and cultural ceremonies and centres were targeted which took lives of hundreds of Shia Hazara civilians.
Moreover, Hazaras are targeted on the roads between cities, on their job sites, and even in wedding ceremonies. Besides all these targeted attacks, Hazaras are discriminated against while involved in government, community, and private services such as healthcare, education, financial, and employment. Since the attacks in May, four more attacks took place against Hazara civilians and led to worldwide #StopHazaraGenocide hashtag.
Problem Analysis – In addition to the security challenges above, Sayed Al Shuhada school faces many more challenges including lack of classroom, limited access to learning – teaching facilities (such as textbooks, library, and laboratory) and a lack of teachers (according to our rapid assessment just 1 teacher is responsible for 120 students at the same time). In addition, there is a low capacity of teachers in terms of subject knowledge and methodologies, no access to safe latrine/washroom, particularly for girl students, no playground and green environment, and limited support from government and lack of community contribution due to poverty.
The recent security incident added more problems including trauma and psychological issues of affected children and families.
Intervention to address the problems/challenges:
- Construction of safe latrine/washroom: A toilet block with 5 rooms will be constructed for girl students and female teachers at school. We have received generous funding for the first block of toilets and upon completion and implementation we expect further blocks will be required – total cost – US$9,260 or £6,630;
- Training of teachers on Hygiene: In addition to construction, we will train the teachers on sanitation and hygiene aiming to improve hygiene practices in school as well as their home lives – total cost – US$2,040 or £1,460;
- Mothernomics vocational centres for low-income mothers at school: A tailoring centre will be established, equipped, and supported for low-income mothers who are sending their children at school – total cost US$15,750 or £11,275 for the construction of the hall and equipping to train the first 30 mothers; and
- Provide psychological support to affected children and families: A group of psychotherapists/counsellors will be recruited and will work to reduce the impact of trauma and provide psychological support in the same manner as the LFT centres in Gaza and Karbala. – total cost of supporting 600 affected families is US$8,350 or £6,100.
Our Mothernomics programmes in Karbala and Gaza are progressing well and in the edition of the newsletter we will be updating you on these and our activities in Yemen. In the meantime, here is a clip of emergency assistance to the most rural parts of Yemen in the Al Mahweet region.