BOSCO, UNHCR educating children in Afghanistan

Getting an education is a human right enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It’s a right that 69 million children are missing out on. But as Nelson Mandela said, ‘Education is the greatest weapon with which we can change the world’ – and it is particularly important in war-torn countries. It’s a major focus of our work. As ever, poverty and conflict are inextricably linked.

Many children are missing out on school in conflict-affected countries – It is estimated that there are almost 40 million children out of school in conflict-affected countries. Moreover, education has been a major area of concern in war-torn Afghanistan. Such is the state of education in the country that tens of thousands of youths have to move out to other countries, including India, to pursue higher studies. Once out, they face other challenges such as a language barrier and not having a general level of education.

To help Afghan students living in Delhi, since 2002, the BOSCO Organization for Social Concern and Operation is running English and Hindi classes at four training centers in joint initiative with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Bosco has gone a long way in shaping the future of these Afghan refugees.

Language stands out to be the biggest barrier for most refugees as they neither speak Hindi nor English. Hence these courses have been introduced as they will prove helpful to most of the students who want to continue their education in India. The beginner students who know little bit of English but they have problem with vocabulary, grammar and speaking beginner classes are held. For those students who do not even know A/B/C/D are taught English from the very basics.

When questioned about the back home, Habib, who came to India in 2014, teaches English, sketching and music at the Bhogal center, said people live under threat of life all the time. Another teacher of Don Bosco School said, “The people are being disturbed that they are so afraid to even come out because of this bomb blasting and explosions. You can’t count even for a few second, anything can happen there and that is the main problem.”

The Afghan students feel that educational facilities are better in India than Afghanistan. There are students who have learnt both English and Hindi and now focusing on other subjects.

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