We currently support some 42,900 children in 5 projects in Afghanistan, where we have been working since 2002. The projects in the Kabul and Jalalabad regions are run by our partners, who have excellent local networks and in-depth experience in implementing programs.


A country in the aftermath of war:
Education for a better future

Life in Afghanistan is still plagued by terror and the tense security situation. While progress has been made in a number of areas, living conditions remain precarious, especially for children and youth. Healthcare in Afghanistan is among the worst in the world. Education is still in short supply, particularly for girls. The child mortality rate is dramatically high – as is the percentage of people with disabilities. We are currently supporting two projects for children with special needs in the Kabul and Jalalabad regions: a capacity building programme to strengthen civil society based on the self-help group model and an innovative book project that promotes education. Since November 2012, we have supported a peace building programme in Kabul.

The challenges

Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world. The population is facing a number of serious challenges. The country has the world's highest mother and infant mortality rates. One-quarter of all children die before they reach the age of five. Nearly 70 percent of the population is illiterate. Until 2001, the Taliban banned girls from attending school. Missing education opportunities prevent families from working their way out of poverty. Numerous wars have also held back the country's development.

Two Afghan girls sitting in school. (Source: Jörg Denker)
Girls are very rarely allowed to attend school.

Agriculture, the main source of income, is fraught with difficulties in Afghanistan. Unsustainable cultivation methods and excessive farmland exploitation regularly lead to life-threatening supply shortages after droughts. To make matters worse, Afghanistan is the world's largest producer of opium. After all, growing poppies is far more lucrative than food crops such as wheat. State countermeasures usually weaken the farmers but not the drug dealers.

It is primarily children who suffer from the consequences: 30 percent of all children are malnourished. Food security remains fragile. Clean drinking water is in short supply. The health care system is inefficient in fighting infectious diseases and conducting vaccinations. Diarrhoea and respiratory illnesses are two common causes for the high child mortality rate. Many children are traumatised by the war and its aftermath.

Education remains an unattainable luxury for many Afghan children for several reasons: child labour is widespread because girls and boys – despite mandatory education – often have to contribute to their families’ income. Although there has been an increase in the number of schoolchildren since the end of the Taliban regime, it is primarily girls who are often prevented from attending school because they have to help cook and clean at home. It is particularly difficult for children with special needs to attend school. They are often thought to be incapable of learning to read. Appropriate educational institutions to meet their needs are non-existent. Physical disabilities are often a result of the war. What's more, the quality of school instruction is particularly poor in rural regions. Many schools have remained little more than piles of rubble since the end of the war.

  • Our work in the country

    We have been involved in Afghanistan since 2002. Our main focus is on supporting children with special needs in the Kabul and Jalalabad regions. Our projects educate people about disabilities but also do preventative work and promote rehabilitation activities. Children with visual or hearing impairments attend special schools or, in some cases, are integrated into regular schools (inclusion).

    In Kabul and the surrounding area, as well as in Mazar-i-Sharif, we also help women form self-help groups to improve their lives and those of their families and children.

    An important area of focus for our work is the educational situation of children in Afghanistan. Today, 68 percent of boys and 40 percent of girls attend primary school, but that is still far from enough. Our projects particularly aim to advance the education of girls.

  • Key figures on Afghanistan

    • 31.8 million people live in Afghanistan
    • 12 % of children die before their first birthday
    • 63 % of boys attend primary school
    • 46 % of girls attend primary school
    • 38 % of all Afghans aged 15 and over can read and write

     Sources: World Factbook, United Nations

Afghanistan: Education changes everything

Afghanistan: Education changes everything

Reading is education and education equals future prospects! We support a project in Afghanistan that publishes high-quality books for children: books that convey values to children and open up new worlds for them.

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Who we are

Who we are

Kindernothilfe is a non-governmental organisation founded in Germany in 1959. We partner with local non-governmental organisations in 33 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe to realize and protect child rights.

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How we work

How we work

Learn more about how we realize child rights.

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