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Workshop: “Children and Education in Afghanistan”


(A literacy class for children
who cannot attend school)

On October 28, the Global Collaboration Center hosted a workshop titled “Children and Education in Afghanistan.” The event was led by deputy director of the Afghanistan Office of the Shanti Volunteer Association (SVA). SVA is a nonprofit organization that develops children’s libraries in Asian countries.
To expand opportunities for education, 4,500 schools have been constructed over the ten-year period from 2002 when the civil war ended. These schools make it possible for more than 10 million children, including 3.5 million girls, to attend school. However, terrorism and attacks on schools persist today, preventing 3.5 million children from attending school.
SVA supports the construction of schools, the operation of children’s libraries, and the publication of picture books. SVA’s facilities not only lend books to children but also hold literacy classes for children who cannot attend school and offer story time sessions and crafts classes.
From the workshop, I realized that there may be no clear criteria for measuring the level of happiness in a nation, but I can use the perspective of whether the children of the nation are lively and active. The situation that Afghan children are in cannot be fully appreciated just by looking at photographs and other materials, but listening to the descriptions given by the SVA representatives of SVA story time sessions and other activities, I realized that whatever you are doing in the field you need to secure not just material things but also an environment where people can feel secure. I truly admire the people who are doing this work.
At the same time, I thought about the children of Japan. Their situation is quite different, but I think that there is a lot of pressure placed on very young shoulders here. Children may be thinking, “Adults all say that things are hard for them and they are busy and tired, but things are hard for us too and we are busy and tired!” I want to be careful not to overlook important matters like who ends up bearing the brunt of various problems and how this arises.

(Misako Shirai, 4th year, Department of Developmental Clinical Psychology)

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