HEART: More than 100 orphans in Herat who lost their parents in the war do not have identification cards. The government does not issue birth certificates to these children due to their not having parents.
Most of these children have been denied access to school due to the lack of identity cards. These children say that not having a birth certificate has prevented them from education and social activities.
Farzana, a14-year- old girl who spent ten years in a government orphanage in Herat, lost her parents when she was two.
The lack of a birth certificate has hindered Farzana from receiving education and partaking in other activities.
“I lost my parents. I do not have an ID card and when I go to school, the teacher or the school principal asks me for an ID card to be enrolled in the school, but I do not have an ID card. I want to go to university in the future, but how can I continue my education without an ID?” said Farzana.
Many children in Herat are facing the fate of Farzana. Although they have applied for birth certificates many times, the government does not grant birth certificates to these children due to their lack of parents.
“I have not had an ID card for thirteen years and they ask me for an ID card when I go to school. During school exams, we are not allowed to participate in the exams due to lack of an ID. I urge the government to issue me an ID card,” said Lena, another orphan girl.
“I ask the government to issue ID cards for homeless children who have lost their parents like me,” said Marzia, another orphan girl.
Officials at the Herat Population Registry say the law has tied their hands and they cannot issue birth certificates to children whose parents are not registered with the office.
“So far, no solution regarding the distribution of ID cards for unidentified persons has reached the population registry. This is a big problem because everyone living in Afghanistan has the right to have a citizenship card,” said Malyar Kakar, the registry director.
Babies and orphans are still being transferred to orphanages from various parts of Herat–children whose parents are unknown and left unattended on the roads and in hospitals.
“We have a large number of orphans from other western provinces who are being brought to orphanages by security agencies and the police. They collect these children from the roads and in the mosques and transfer them to the orphanages. Sometimes babies whose parents are unknown are brought from hospitals to orphanages,” said Abdul Qayoum Afghan, head of Herat’s Labor and Social Affairs.
More than 100 orphaned girls and boys are being held in government orphanages in Herat. But local officials in Herat say the number of homeless children in the province who have lost their parents is much higher and they live in difficult conditions in cities and villages.