School benches protect children against the winter cold

The winter cold will soon be coming to Afghanistan. To a lot of schoolchildren, temperatures below 10 degrees means daily discomfort and the risk of getting seriously ill. They have to sit on the cold floor for several hours during classes.

The schools cannot afford basic equipment such as tables and chairs.  This affects the children’s health and their education in a country where approximately 70 percent of the population don’t know how to read and write.

Masoud Mir Alam goes to school in north eastern Afghanistan. He remembers last winter clearly:
“We all sat on the cold floor in the class room, shaking. Our legs turned numb.”

Masoud is lucky. He attends one of the five schools that with the help of Mission East have received desks. For about 8 euros per pupil thousands of pupils has regained the happiness of learning. They are now able to concentrate in class, and their education gives them a better chance of escaping poverty.

Jan Ara is one of the lucky girls who goes to school in Afghanistan. She is also one of the lucky pupils that don’t have to fear another winter sitting on the cold floor. Her school has received desks through Mission East:
“My parents send me to the school to learn. When it is cold, I shiver due to coldness, and I’m not able to listen to my teacher. Many times I start coughing when I’m back home – sometimes I have headaches and fever."

Unfortunately, not all children are as fortunate as Masoud and Jan Ara. A lot of children are still forced to risk their good health or forego the rare opportunity of an education. When all it takes to prevent this is a table and a chair.

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The situation is serious
The situation in Afghanistan is serious. But at the same time there is more to Afghanistan than conflict, violence and poppies. In the middle of all the chaos there is a population that needs our support more than ever. A population who wants peace, development, and a safe life for their children and grandchildren. Just like the rest of us.

Mission East helps poor villages in the north eastern Afghanistan with assistance such as clean water, hygiene education, and help to grow their own food.

The result can be clearly seen - as this Afghan villager recently explained:
“Before Mission East came our children died done by one. Every family was mourning over the loss of at least one son or daughter. Today no more children die."

Mission East works towards helping the poorest first. We understand that the children are Afghanistan’s chance for change. If only we give them the opportunity.

Afghanistan is one of the world’s poorest countries with a child mortality rate that is number four in the world. In Afghanistan every fourth child dies before his or her fifth birthday. An average woman lives only 42 years. And only 20 percent of all women can read and write. Afghanistan’s population suffers from the consequences of these statistics. The country needs help from organizations like Mission East.

Click here to read more about Mission East in Afghanistan