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Kabul orphanage struggles to feed its children as cash runs low

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KABUL, Oct 15 (Reuters) – Ahmad Khalil Mayan, programme director at a big Kabul orphanage, says he’s slicing again on the quantity of fruit and meat he offers the children every week as a result of the house is operating out of cash.

For the final two months, for the reason that Afghan Taliban seized management of the nation and hundreds of thousands of {dollars} in help abruptly dried up, he has been desperately calling and emailing donors, each international and native, who supported him earlier than.

“Unfortunately, most of them have left the country – Afghan donors, foreign donors, embassies. When I call them or email them, no one is answering me,” Mayan, 40, informed Reuters on the sprawling Shamsa Children’s Village within the north of the capital.

“We are now trying to run the place with very little money and with little food,” he added.

(Open https://reut.rs/3FOCpLJ in an exterior browser to see an image package deal on Kabul’s struggling orphanage.)

There are round 130 children on the orphanage aged from three years upwards. It has been operational for greater than a decade, and offers shelter for individuals who have misplaced each mother and father or only one who can’t afford to preserve them.

Among them is nine-year-old Samira, from northeastern Badakhshan province who has been on the orphanage for nearly two years after her father died and her mom didn’t have the means to help her or her brothers.

In the playground exterior on a cool day in Kabul she performs with as a lot depth as she research, grinning extensively as she goes greater on the swing. Despite her younger age, she is already taking additional courses and desires to be a health care provider when she grows up.

“I want to serve my homeland and save others from disease, and I also want other girls to study so that they become a doctor like me in the future,” she informed Reuters, with a sheepish grin.

Orphanages like this play an outsize position in Afghanistan, the place tens of hundreds of civilians have been killed in wars which have ravaged the nation for greater than 40 years.

The lack of funding, which has hit charities, non-governmental organisations and bizarre Afghans for the reason that hardline Islamist Taliban motion took again management of the nation, is forcing Mayan into powerful selections.

The orphanage tried to ship a couple of children again to kin who have been comparatively nicely off, however one after the other they’ve returned.

Mayan mentioned workers have had to scale back meals parts and restrict the kinds of meals children eat.

“Before we were providing them twice a week fruit and twice a week meat, but we cut those items to just once a week or maybe not even (that much).”

CASH CRUNCH

Facing an financial disaster as winter approaches, Taliban officers have urged Western governments to resume help donations and referred to as on the United States to carry a block on greater than $9 billion of Afghan central financial institution reserves held abroad.

Many international locations have refused to recognise the Taliban, who till just lately have been a jihadist insurgency combating international troops and their Afghan allies.

Some governments are demanding that the group ensures fundamental civil freedoms, together with permitting women to attend secondary faculty and girls to work.

The Taliban, which banned all women’ schooling once they dominated from 1996-2001, have mentioned they’re engaged on the difficulty.

Compounding the orphanage’s issues is the weekly restrict of $200 on financial institution withdrawals to keep away from a run on exhausting forex, that means entry to funds shouldn’t be sufficient to help the children and workers.

Mayan fears that if the state of affairs continues, the orphanage won’t be able to perform for much longer.

That could be devastating for the children, who obtain arithmetic, English and pc classes as nicely as bodily schooling, not to point out meals and shelter.

Samira, the aspiring physician, remains to be in a position to go to faculty exterior the orphanage premises due to her age, and she or he attends additional tuition courses within the afternoon to get forward.

Hardship has not dented her ambition, however she additionally recognises that so as to obtain her objectives, she might have to go overseas to examine.

“I am not allowed to study here.”

Editing by Mike Collett-White

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Samira, 9, and other children from the orphanage walk to the school bus in Kabul, Afghanistan, October 12, 2021. Samira wants to be a doctor when she grows up.

Samira, 9, and other children share tea and bread for breakfast at the orphanage before going to school in Kabul, Afghanistan, October 12, 2021. Samira wants to be a doctor when she grows up.

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