Fierce fighting has been continuing among governmental forces, foreign militaries, the Taliban, and the extremist organization “IS”, involving citizens with more than 10,000 confirmed casualties in 2019. Even banks and hospitals became targets by suicide bombing attacks, and elections were frequently disrupted in September, threatening citizens’ livelihood. The humanitarian crisis continues, among reduced international aids and interest, as well as food shortages due to the effects of drought that caused a rise in the number of refugees.
JVC started support activities in Afghanistan through emergency assistance, soon after the 9/11 Al-Qaeda attacks. JVC continues to stand by local people through cooperation with YVO, an Afghan NGO that has been localized from the former JVC local office, through providing literacy education and peace activities.
A Story in Our Activity Area
Mahtaba, a woman in her 40s living in Nangarhar, in the eastern part of Afghanistan, had to give up going to school because of poor public security during her teenage years. “As I didn’t want my children to follow the same path, I had all of my 10 children, including girls, receive education. In order to give them more time to study, I took care of all of the domestic chores,” she said. Razia, one of her daughters, graduated from senior high school with honors, and was chosen as one of the teachers of the literacy classes which JVC started at the village. Saying, “Now it’s my turn to make my mom’s dream come true,” Razia encouraged her mother to learn at the class where she teaches. Mahtaba could finally achieve her wishes thanks to her beloved daughter after a lapse of many years. After finishing the course, Mahtaba found herself being able to read what was written on the package insert of a medicine and to tell what document she had.
“Literacy Action”, Community Based Education
Outline of the Activities
Due to a long conflict including the period under the Taliban regime (1996-2001) when the education of girls was prohibited, Afghanistan suffered severe damage in the field of education. Improvement in literacy education has been observed thanks to the support of the international community. However, it is hard to say that the needs are properly met especially at rural villages far away from cities. In cooperation with local communities, JVC designates a teacher from each village to provide literacy classes for community members above 15 years of age who had not received formal education. Additionally, JVC performs awareness-raising activities to create a learning environment for the community children so that they can keep going to school.
About 280 men and women successfully finished 9 months of literacy education and became able to read, write and calculate at the level of elementary school 3rd grade. In addition to textbooks, cooking recipes, health education, and elements of Islam, which is very important to the people, were included as teaching materials so that they can learn through things directly connected to their daily lives. Additionally, students, who themselves had the opportunity to learn performed plays to inform other villagers how important it is for children to learn at the school. The importance of education is now being spread among people of all ages.
“Peace Action”, Mutual Learning of Peace and Nonviolence
Outline of the Activities
Due to protracted conflict, weapons have leaked into the community. Propaganda of fighting and violence has long affected the lives of the people in this situation; boys and young men are often recruited as combatants. JVC supports activities in which villagers learn from each other how to change their reality with nonviolence, and without the use of force.
While fierce fighting still continues, in the second year of our activities, exchanges and mutual visits were possible between people living in volatile areas and those in the area of JCV activities, where security has been relatively maintained. Villagers from both areas gathered and discussed what they could do at the regional level toward a realization of peace, and had the chance to share their experience. People actively took part in the meetings, which raised the awareness and reinforced their determination about the importance of nonviolence and peace.
[Source: JVC Annual Report 2019]Share This: