UNICEF is highlighting the situation for children in Afghanistan – and in some parts, it’s pretty dire.
We have seen first-hand how years of conflict and drought is impacting families. Children are dying from hunger and preventable diseases. But we also witnessed some remarkable stories of hope.
Despite the challenges of war and poverty, we've met people who are resilient and determined. Parents who have done everything in their power to protect their kids.
Gul and Zikrullah
We were surprised to meet a chubby-cheeked little boy called Zikrullah inside a crowded, cramped clinic in Mazar. We soon found out that he'd had a tough start in life.
Zikrullah is from a poor family despite his father desperately looking for work. Just a few months ago baby Zikrullah was severely underweight because he had contracted pneumonia and diarrhoea after a harsh winter. His mother Gul was trying everything to make her son healthy again but nothing was working. The family were told to urgently take their son to hospital in Kabul but they didn't have enough money to get there.
Fortunately, there was a UNICEF-supported clinic in their village, so Zikrullah could begin life-saving treatment closer to home.
We got to see how easy it was to rip open a sachet of the therapeutic super food and see him finish it off in no time! Although it was great to see this little one bouncing back to life, we know that Gul still worries about her child's future in Afghanistan.
Gul Ghotti and her one-year-old son Zikrullah.
Abdul and Mujibrahman
Abdul works hard to earn bread for his family, he makes 300 AFN ($4.50 USD) a day. The money is all spent on food and the family have no savings. He told us that when you have money, people see you as a human being. Without money no one even looks at you.
Abdul grew up surrounded by war.
"Planes were dropping bombs, rockets were landing all around us. No one was able to leave, we were stuck at home for almost five years."
Abdul wants a better life for his son and hopes he will become a doctor or a teacher.
When we met Abdul he was carrying his son to the clinic. He told us "I'm vaccinating my child to protect him against all kinds of diseases. My child had severe diarrhoea about a month ago but luckily he hasn't had measles."
We know how quickly diseases like measles can spread and children living in poverty are at great risk. That's why we were happy to learn that little Mujibrahman is now fully vaccinated.
Abdul told us "my child is the most precious thing in the world. His wellbeing is everything to me."
Abdul Jameel and his two-and-a-half year old son Mujibrahman in their village of Khulm.