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Discussion on the Conditions of Children in Balkh

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28 November 2017
Monthly media meeting series
Community and media Center Balkh (Maulana Peace House) organized its monthly media meeting program for the month of November to discuss the conditions of children in Balkh province. The gathering was organized on 28th of November 2017 to mark Children's Day and discuss the appalling conditions in which Afghan children live, about 28 participants, including 11 female, from child rights groups, children advocacy clusters, Mazar-e-Sharif municipality representatives, university instructors, educators, students and experts took part in the event to analyze the conditions of children in Balkh province. 
Participants argued that children across the country and in Balk province grapple with numerous challenges and obstacles. Children, including girls and boys, go through unspeakable hardship as result of widespread poverty, armed conflict, insecurity, drug and other phenomenon and endure arduous working conditions, suffer addiction, fall prey to mafia groups, succumb to begging on the streets, are deprived of the right to education, get recruited by terrorist groups, and sexually victimized by predators.
Head of a Child Foundation in Balkh province, Mrs. Maryam Karimi presented the result of a three-year research conducted by her foundation in Balkh province analyzing the conditions and challenges of children in the province, especially of the children working on the streets.
“Sadly our investigations show that the number of children working on the streets is only getting higher and higher by each passing year and twenty per cent are deprived to education,” said Mrs. Maryam Karimi.
Head of Balkh provincial orphanage, Mrs. Rohafzah Acbari, said that we are currently proving care for about 100 poor and kids without legal custody, including providing them with the opportunity to get an education, learn skills and find work to support themselves. She emphasized that there are still countless challenges and difficult challenges that we have to work hard to overcome. 
Abdulqadir Mozbah, Head of Khat-e-Now, an institution dedicated to fighting drug and addiction among children, spoke of widespread addiction among children and said that children even while in their mother womb become addicted to drugs.
“Drug mafia groups are exploiting children and use them for transporting and selling hard drug in Mazar-e-sharif, and this is a widespread practice,” said Abdulqadir Mozbah.
 “it is obvious that there are thousands of children working on the streets to put a loaf of bread on the table,” said the head of culture and social affairs department at the Municipality of Mazar-e-Sharif, Dawoud Haidari, adding that “we are working with social and civil organizations to improve conditions for the children.”
Representatives of child right institutions spoke about the challenges they face in working to improve conditions for children, they argued that institutions and governmental organizations and international institutes must work together to make sure children are not exploited and exposed to inhumane and arduous working conditions. 
Participants concluded that more coordination among institutions working on child rights, child rights advocates and governmental organizations is the most practical way to come together and work on improving conditions for children and enable them to get and continue their education. Education, the participants argued is the most important thing besides acceptable working conditions is the most important thing to be focused on.
Mediothek Afghanistan is committed to improving conditions for children, helping children get the education they deserve and has been working with governmental organizations, social organizations and communities to come together in fighting against exploitation of children.