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AFGHANISTAN

WELLNESS WORLDWIDE KABUL CHILDREN'S CENTER

The mission of Wellness Worldwide’s Kabul Camp Children’s Center is to provide an environment that fosters social, emotional, physical and cognitive growth for children in conflict zones.  

Kabul Camp is a refugee camp located in Nangharhar province, eastern Afghanistan. It is home to 5,000 families with an approximate population of 25,000-35,000. The population includes refugees who are internally displaced from war as well as those who have been forcibly returned from Pakistan. There is currently no Afghan government or UN assistance for the health care of these refugees.

In order to address the needs of these refugee children, we have developed a comprehensive two-part project. The first part of our project is aimed at teaching internally displaced children literacy, mathematics skills, and supporting their social and emotional development. The second part of our project is targeted towards addressing the health care of the children and their families.

Our children’s center will include educational activities in addition to activities that include participation in playground playtime, sports and games which aid in the children’s social and emotional development. Furthermore, refugee children tend to be malnourished, so we will also provide nutritious snacks to supplement their deficient diets. We anticipate enrolling 100 children per year.

The second part of our project entails providing adequate healthcare to the camp children and their families. Refugees lack basic access to health care.  The Children’s Center goals of fostering social, educational, and emotional support cannot succeed in an environment where children lack basic primary health care. We also provide pathways to obtain specialized care for more complex diseases.

We plan to develop a family health center which will be staffed by a family medicine doctor proficient in caring for both adults and children. There will be a nurse with an on-site administrator. A pharmacy which provides essential medications and immunizations to children will also be an essential part of our health center. We anticipate there will be 50 patients seen per day and approximately 14,000 patients seen in one year.  Approximately 8,000 of these patients will be children.

Current Coronavirus Emergency Food Aid

Given the recent coronavirus pandemic, the Kabul Camp Children’s Center has adjusted its activities to meet a starvation crisis that has emerged within the camp with the Kabul Camp Children’s Center Coronavirus Food Aid project. Living conditions for the refugees, already dire before the outbreak of Covid-19 in Afghanistan, have been exacerbated for its population with the following challenges:

  • Afghanistan is one of the 5 countries in the world most at risk for famine as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
  • Due to the coronavirus lockdown, daily laborers and child laborers are not able to earn livelihoods that previously allowed them to feed their families.
  • 3 million people face an emergency crisis in levels of food insecurity.
  • Due to Covid-19, the prices for wheat, flour, cooking oil, rice and pulses (basic diet foods) have soared beyond the affordability of many families.

 [United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, March 29, 2020; Reuters, April 1, 2020; The Guardian, April 1, 2020; CNN, April 22, 2020]

Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, children and their parents engaged in labor which included activities such as brick-making. This provided essential income for their families. This source of income is now gone and our volunteers on the ground have informed us in the past two weeks that there are at least 200 families threatened with starvation. We have developed a program in order to provide essential food aid to those most vulnerable in the camp for three months. This entails providing each family with flour, cooking oil, and beans which will feed them for one month. The average family size is 10 persons per household.  Thus we will be serving approximately 2,000 people (1,500 of whom are children) these basic food staples.