Poverty forcing Afghan children into hard labor

KABUL (Tolo News): Poverty in the country has forced many children in the capital to work instead of going to school. They say they are concerned about not getting an education. Bilal, a fourteen-year-old breadwinner for his family of eight, says he sells water from morning to night on a cart and is upset that he is unable to attend school.
“Working makes me very angry because I miss school,” said Bilal, a child laborer. “I get angry when I see my brother not studying and working,” said Jalal, Bilal’s brother. Mujtaba, like hundreds of other children, works as a tire repairer on the capital’s roads, and is prevented from attending school.
“I’m the sole breadwinner of my family of seven, I dropped out of school in the fifth grade due to economic challenges,” said Mujtaba, a child laborer. Several child laborers described the hardships they face at work. “I walk the streets all day, in the heat, and sell plastic,” said Aisha, a child laborer.
“I’m really concerned about my future and what will happen to my future ,” said Shahram, a child laborer. Officials at the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs say that the ministry is striving to reduce the number of youngsters working.
“We have technical and vocational courses, we have a curriculum, and we provide regular education for children,” said Makhdoom Abdul Salam Saadat, deputy minister of labor and social affairs. According to 2020 statistics from the National Statistics Office, more than 700,000 children in the country are engaged in hard labor.