13 yrs old
Kabul the capital of Afghanistan capital is a city that has repeatedly experienced a rapid increase in population in recent times. Where in 1979 the population was one million, it had reached over 5 million during a period of war and devastation by 2017 (source: World Population Review). The reason for this growth is mainly the internal migration and displacement of people due to poverty and war. Orphans in Need has been supporting the most vulnerable in society, amongst which are the orphaned children in Afghanistan. We have been working in there for the last 6 years, and today we bring you the story of young Zakirullah.
In 2014, a member of our team came across Zakirullah when he visited a bakery in Kabul. This young 10-year-old was washing, cleaning, and carrying big pots with his tiny hands. Our team member asked why he wasn’t at school. The child looked at his employer and continued with his work without answering.
The question was repeated in a different manner “do you want to go to school son?”
The boy answered, “How? I need to do this”. Our team member asked if he could speak with the child’s father to see if we could arrange something with his local school so that the boy could attend. Zakirullah responded “I don’t have one.”
Our team in Afghanistan specialise in sponsoring orphan children and building water wells. When we realised Zakirullah was an orphan we approached his employer and told him the nature of our work, we asked him if we could take him for a couple of hours to see if we could do something to help improve his situation. The employer agreed. We asked Zakirullah if his mother was alive, he replied “yes”. After hesitation to walk home with us due to fear of being kidnapped or sold, which is sadly the norm in his society, Zakirullah was comforted by our female staff and took us to meet his mother.
At the house, our team realised the family were living miserably. The Mother, Ameena was around 55-years-old and was suffering from diabetes without any medical support. She had a number of children including her married 22-year-old daughter, a victim of domestic violence. The daughter had two children herself; a five-year-old and a two-year-old and Ameena complained that she never saw her daughter any more. With a full house, Zakirullah at the age of 10, was the main provider making 50 Afghanis (less than $1 USD) per day.
Listening to Ameena talk about her situation, our staff were determined to help. After our team were able to verify her story, we offered to sponsor her son. This meant that he would receive a free education from a local private school, a school uniform, books, and extra funds to ensure that the family had enough food and could afford healthcare. Ameena couldn’t believe it and the tears of joy started rolling. Ameena couldn’t believe what she was being offered and kept asking if we were sure. She began making dua for our team, the charity, and everyone supporting her family.
Zakirullah is now 14 years old and is doing well. Zakirullah has been attending school and no longer has to work. His education, food, and health is taken care of and the future for him looks brighter.
The most vulnerable people in any disaster zone are normally widows and orphaned children. When society fails to meet the needs of children it perpetuates into a cycle of poverty, destruction, and injustice. With your help we are making a small but life-changing difference to the vulnerable orphans we work with. Devastating situations such as Zakirullah’s family are all too common. We can only turn their lives around with your lasting support.