Do you remember going to primary school?
For many children in Australia, primary education marks the first step into a, generally speaking, well-funded education system.
Pre-school and primary education provide a significant influence on children’s intellectual and personal development.
This is, in a lot of cases a very expensive investment and it can be argued that children often don’t recognise education for the privilege that it is.
So how does this work in a country like Afghanistan with a very recent history of war, political turmoil and instability?
Afghanistan has actually seen drastic improvement since 2002, especially regarding the number of schools being built.
Through international support and collaboration with communities, the number of schools increased from around 6,000 in 2002 to over 15,500 in 2012.
While this is a positive step, UNICEF released a report that indicated another 6,500 more schools would be needed in order to meet the demand of education for Afghan children.
Education in rural Afghanistan was seen to be one of the biggest issues.
This was heavily addressed and now most villages now have some form of school.
However, 50% of students who enrol in first grade in primary school reach year five.
The problem isn’t that children aren’t going to school anymore; the problem is that they can’t afford to stay there.
Therefore, the attention has shifted from mere enrolment to the provision of quality education and the importance of pre-school education which together will increase the retention in Afghan schools.
One of the obstacles to education experienced by families in rural Afghanistan is low income, which forces children to drop out of school and seek poorly paid employment in order to support their families.
An average family in Afghanistan will have an income of $40-$50 per month on which they will struggle to make ends meet.
The majority of this income is spent on food, medicine and clothes – the absolute necessities for survival.
It is even worse for widows who often have to beg from sunrise to sunset in order to provide for her children.
This is an economically volatile situation in Afghanistan and the cycle of insufficient education and poverty will continue if people choose not to help.
$25 is enough to provide one child with one month’s education.
This money will pay for uniform, school supplies and learning materials and provides a stepping stone for a child to escape from poverty.
To put it into perspective, for the same amount you could sit back and enjoy a fancy cocktail overlooking Sydney Harbour Bridge at any bar in Circular Quay.
When we ask how valuable education is in Afghanistan – we can say the price of education is $25 per month but when we ask a child in rural Afghanistan the same question – they will say the price of education is life.
We at Mahboba’s Promise are passionate about supporting these children and if you are interested in donating to this worthy cause then please visit our website at https://mahbobaspromise.org