KHOST CITY (Pajhwok): A group of young volunteers has paved the way for a number of out of school and working children to continue their education in southeastern Khost province. The children aged between six and 14 years have stopped going to school due to financial hardships.
Rafiq, 12, originally from Paktia province who currently lives in Habashkhel area of Khost City, is one of the children benefiting from the free education. Rafiq told Pajhwok Afghan News that he carried people’s luggage in his hand-cart from one place to another in the city to eke out a living for his family. He would feel hopeless seeing boys of his age going to school, but his dreams came true after the volunteers enrolled him in their education facility.
“I’m very happy here, I learned a lot here. Now I can solve math questions, sentences and alphabets. Education is very pleasant,” he added.
Bilal, 14, is another student enrolled in this free education centre. He told Pajhwok that despite tiredness after taking people’s stuff from one place to another, he still he attended his class in the education centre in the evening.
Bilal, who dropped out of school after his father became jobless, started working in order to support his family.
“My father went to Saudi Arabia for Umrah, then he was arrested there for overstaying his visa, we ran into debt.
My father told me to continue my education, but I said I should also work, right now I’m happy that I can study and work,” he added.
Naqibullah Zaland, one of the founders of the free education centre for poor children, told Pajhwok that they taught Islamic subjects, reading, calligraphy and English language to the children. He said their initiative was new and on the first day they had two students, but currently their number was 20 and increasing day by day.
Zaland added: “A child works with his handcart all the day and earns 100 or 150 afghanis, we convince these children participate in lessons with us.”
He said expenses for stationary and other educational materials were provided by businessmen of the province.
He also said they were trying to open such free education centers not only in Khost city but in all areas of the province so that the children did not grow illiterate.
Meanwhile, Khost Education Department officials said they supported such efforts and service to children.
Sayed Kabir Sangin, director of Khost education department, told Pajhwok that they were planning to enroll working children in private schools and public schools.