A Christmas Wish for Afghanistan - Hope 103.2

A Christmas Wish for Afghanistan

Afghanistan’s strict rules surrounding women mean that the responsibility of employment can fall to male children as young as 10.

By Georgia FreeTuesday 20 Dec 2022Hope DriveSocial JusticeReading Time: 2 minutes

As we approach Christmas of 2022, my thoughts wander, as they often do, to the people of Afghanistan – who have now been enduring Taliban rule for almost a year and a half. 

In a time where peace and joy is often in abundance, life for Afghan people, especially children has been anything but.

World Vision Afghanistan’s National Director Asuntha Charles spoke to Hope Drive about the unique struggles in the country as they head into another harsh winter – and her Christmas wish for the people that live there.

Harsh winter to come

Currently, there are 28.3 million people in Afghanistan needing humanitarian assistance – many of them children. Additionally, child labour is constantly increasing – with many male children becoming the sole breadwinners for large families.

Afghanistan’s strict rules surrounding women, especially in rural areas, mean that the responsibility of employment can fall to male children as young as 10. More than that, many children are facing an impossible decision this winter.

“The biggest choice that children have to make this winter – is to eat, or to heat,” Asuntha said.

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“My constant worry is how many children are going to die in this winter.”

Long term support

One of the most pressing needs in Afghanistan is investment in long term development programs – to decrease dependance on aid.

“Humanitarian assistance is not sufficient for what is happening on the ground,” Asuntha said.

“We have to address the root cause.

“I want to see people living with dignity and respect.”

Staying behind

When Afghanistan eventually fell to the Taliban in August 2021, Asuntha remained behind – even as many others fled.

“My staff needed me there,” Asuntha said.

“I wanted to give them the confidence that World Vision would be there, even in the most challenging moments.”

Asuntha fielded so many calls from her colleagues about how scared they were, that she barely had time to feel fear.

“I just shared my hope with them, rather than thinking about myself.

“I truly didn’t feel scared.”

A Christmas wish

This Christmas, Asuntha wishes for long lasting peace and stability for Afghanistan – something that its people have not felt in a long time.

“My wish is to see Afghanistan become a peaceful country one day, because these people have suffered for years and years,” Asuntha said.

She also wishes the global community to stand by Afghanistan in this period of deep and suffering – and to share their resources with those that need it most.

“Christmas is a season of peace, love and sharing,” Asuntha said.

“I believe Australian people have the ability to be a blessing, by sharing what they have.”

Listen to Asuntha’s full interview on Hope Drive in the player above.  

For more information on how you can support those living in Afghanistan, visit the World Vision website.