First Person: The ‘bravery’ of Afghanistan’s girls and women |

Following an announcement by the Taliban that boys might return to secondary college — whereas making no reference to a return date for ladies in secondary college — nervousness and uncertainty stalk the a million women affected by this omission. 

UNICEF’s Chief of Communications in Afghanistan, Sam Mort, spoke to the Below-Secretary-Common for International Communications on the UN, Melissa Fleming, as a part of the podcast sequence, Awake at Night.  

“UNICEF stayed in Afghanistan as a result of that’s what we do. We’re right here earlier than, throughout and after an emergency and, in the intervening time, round half the nation is in determined want of humanitarian support, together with 10 million youngsters.

If UNICEF is not right here to guard them, to provide them drugs, vaccinate them, to provide them the nourishment that they so desperately want, to assist them recuperate from the atrocities that they’ve seen, then who’s going to do this? It was a straightforward resolution to remain for the group, and for me personally.

The pace and the dimensions of the Taliban takeover has had a huge effect on us and our operations. Most of our nationwide employees are working from dwelling till the Taliban may give us assurances about their safety, significantly that our feminine nationwide employees can journey safely and do their work with out menace.

Because of this, we’re not working at capability; we’re not reaching all the kids we have to be serving to. However, in latest weeks, roads and airports have opened up so, slowly, slowly, we’re starting to renew our work and we’re hopeful that we’ll have all employees again within the places of work quickly. With a fancy humanitarian disaster looming and winter across the nook, time is of the essence. 

One of many worst locations on earth to be a baby

UNICEF's Sam Mort meets a child patient at a hospital in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.

© UNICEF/Omid Fazel

UNICEF’s Sam Mort meets a baby affected person at a hospital in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.

Afghanistan has lengthy been one of many worst locations on earth to be a baby and in latest months, it is change into a a lot darker place so it is necessary that the eyes and ears of the world stay centered on probably the most susceptible and the way finest to assist them.

UNICEF works with a variety of younger folks and, since I arrived in Afghanistan a 12 months in the past, I’ve been struck by their power, optimism and dedication to forge ahead, significantly of their want for schooling. It’s not straightforward, particularly for younger ladies who of their want to study and search new alternatives confront every day threats, hardships and challenges.

Their confidence, the pluckiness, is exceptional. I do not suppose I used to be anticipating that. I see a bravery in Afghanistan’s women and girls that I have never seen anyplace else, as a result of the fears and pressures are actual and so they acknowledge them, and so they transfer ahead anyway.

After I requested one younger girl who we have been working with in the previous few weeks, how she was doing she mentioned, “I am nonetheless respiration however I am trapped. This can be a nightmare”.

She advised me: ‘Sam, I used to be, I used to be simply ending highschool and I used to be about to start out college. Every part I needed to do, all my desires have simply stopped.”

Unfulfilled potential

A UN-supported polio worker in Afghanistan administers a polio vaccine to a young child (file).

UNICEF/Celeste Hibbe

A UN-supported polio employee in Afghanistan administers a polio vaccine to a younger baby (file).

As a foreigner, you need to be very cautious about saying, “Oh, they have not simply stopped, , they’re going to begin once more,” as a result of that is Afghanistan and the Taliban has taken over and everyone is in ‘wait-and-see’ mode. No person can predict what is going on to occur. 

With all of the younger folks that I have been talking to, together with younger males and boys, the best service I can do for them is to pay attention, to know and to speak to them a bit bit about their psychological well being in addition to what they’ll do every day to maintain themselves busy, however keep pragmatic and centered on their future. 

UNICEF is such a hopeful, ahead wanting group. We attempt to work with younger folks to provide them a platform to specific themselves, realise their desires, encourage each other and join. Proper now, although, that feels very troublesome in Afghanistan.

So, what retains me awake at night time?  It’s the unfulfilled potential of younger folks, significantly younger ladies, that’s troublesome.”

Hearken to the audio interview here.

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