Recently, Vidhya Ganesh, UNICEF Afghanistan’s Deputy Representative, visited UNICEF headquarters in New York. Jennifer Lee spoke with her about UNICEF’s work in Afghanistan, which emphasizes polio eradication, child survival, and giving girls equal access to education.
Tag Archives for "Afghanistan"
Heading into Memorial Day, most American students I know are thinking of summer vacation, getting a job at the ice cream parlor, or perhaps what to wear during that beyond-silly-last-week-of-school when desperate teachers organize “pajama day” and “inside-out day” to keep their classes somewhat distracted from the summer outside.
But for much of the world, school vacation is not something to be relished. This week’s video is about a girl in Afghanistan who goes to school so she can be an engineer, and a journalist, and also a doctor. The problem is, she lives in a place where violence regularly keeps her from school.
In April, we shared a couple of Fieldnotes entries about the devastation of landmines and cluster munitions, and UNICEF’s work to help keep children safe from landmines (remember the “magic cricket“?)
In mine-affected communities, children’s everyday activities can have a sudden end. UNICEF recognizes that the only way to put an end to these indiscriminate weapons is to ban them outright. In that spirit, the U.S. Fund for UNICEF is a long-time member of the U.S. Coalition to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munitions (www.uscbl.org), advocating for the United States to ratify the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty and the 2008 Cluster Munitions Convention.
On May 18, the movement toward U.S. ratification of the Mine Ban Treaty took an big step forward. A letter written by mine ban champion Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) went to President Obama, asking him to accede to the Mine Ban Treaty – signed by 68 Senators including ten Republicans and two Independents, signifying a key two-thirds Senate majority in favor of ratification. Sixty-eight is a special number because it represents the Senate two-thirds majority needed for ratification if the Administration sends the treaty to the Senate for consent.
|© UNICEF/NYHQ2010-0793/Kate Holt|
|Afghanistan: Girls attend an informal school outside a mosque in the Mian Poshteh Bazaar.|
Michael Sandler is a writer for the UNICEF USA communications team. This is his first Fieldnotes entry.
Last week, while helping shepherd eighty boisterous Brooklyn 5th graders on a class trip, I was struck by the elaborate rules and occasionally frantic demeanor of the teachers trying to corral the students around Washington, D.C. With talk of hiring special security at our hotel, the clear assumption was that: school is safe, but this outside world is very dangerous.
In truth, the days spent in our capital’s museums and souvenir shops proved less than perilous. But all week, newspapers were filled with stories illustrating why in many places, an opposite assumption applies: School isn’t safe. Not at all.
In China, brutal and seemingly random displays of violence took the lives of teachers and kindergarteners. In north Yemen, both rebel and pro-government gunmen were reportedly occupying schools by force.
And in Kunduz and Kabul, Afghanistan, dozens of female students were hospitalized after an apparent attack with poison gas.
These are different instances of tragedy–some less preventable than others. But UNICEF abhors the notion that the simple act of attending school should ever be an experience fraught with insecurity.
This week’s photo is of three girls in Afghanistan attending an informal school outside a mosque in the Mian Poshteh Bazaar, a former trading center for opium and weapons in Helmand Province. The area is currently occupied by military forces. Attacks on schools and girl students throughout the country have deterred many families from sending their children to official schools.
If you follow the news, you likely know about the brutal attack on a UN guesthouse in Kabul, Afghanistan just over a month ago. On October 28, Taliban militants staged an early morning raid
The question echoes throughout war-torn Afghanistan: “What are you doing for
peace?” For the third year in a row, all parties have agreed to a complete cease-fire to take place today, September 21.
The UN first declared this date the International Day of Peace in 1981 and in 2001 further designated it “a day of global ceasefire and non-violence”. International and civic organizations will celebrate the brief respite from violence with traditional musical performances, kite-flying contests, a nation-wide message of peace, and humanitarian campaigns.