One of AIL’s privileges is to help keep the orphans in Herat healthy and happy. Treating their illnesses, educating them on how to be safe and vaccinating them is how we do that. Between January and June we have treated almost 1200 illnesses and educated another four hundred. Orphans face more illnesses than children with families, because they live in a home with dozens of other children. When one gets sick, the others often follow. While they are lucky enough to have food and a bed to sleep in, unlike our street children, they still have large risks due to living in a group home. Treating them early and preventing spread is one of the most important things we can do.
When we work with the street children, it is a little more complicated. We don’t always know if they will come back for more treatment if they need it. Sometimes we won’t see them again. We have to focus on treating what we can when we see it, because ongoing treatment may not be possible. Illnesses and injuries are common in homeless children. The many dangers they face, along with poor nutrition, lack of safe sleeping spaces, and no one to clean wounds means their risks are much higher than even the orphans. AIL does everything we can to reach them, but these children are wary of adults so we don’t reach as many as we wish we could. For every one we reach, there are a dozen more who wouldn’t come in for treatment.
Treating Street Children under sanctions
We will continue to do outreach and education with them, now more than ever. With Afghanistan facing staggering numbers of hungry people, and food shortages rising all over the world, illness and death is the daily reality for these kids. We can’t magically produce food, and sanctions raise prices, while preventing us from getting donations we used to get from international communities. We need the sanctions lifted so we can feed our people, but until then we will do what we always do. Feed and educate children. These sanctions are more ridiculous every day, when we look at the state of the world. Let’s lift the sanctions, so we can more easily feed families.