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A slice of Ahmad’s life

Today I spend some time with eight year old Ahmad and his family. He attends one of Save the Children’s Working and Street Children’s (WSC) centres and individual donors regularly receive updates on his life and community. They have no heating, running water or electricity and sleep in one tiny room. Three times a day, Ahmad and his ten year old brother Feroz fetch water from a pump which is about one kilometre from their house.

When they are not attending the WSC, the brothers sell bolani (an Afghan snack of bread with vegetables) on the streets of Mazar. Their mother is unable to read and write and suffers from very poor health but says she feels so proud of the fact that her boys are receiving an education and relieved that they have regular health checks through the WSC Centre.

Speaking to colleagues back at the office, I learn that more than half the children in Afghanistan are stunted due to poor nutrition and that the country is one of the worst in the world for its child mortality rate. It is estimated that one in four children will die before their fifth birthday, often due to diseases which are easily preventable such as diarrhoea, pneumonia and dehydration. Save the Children’s pilot intervention Community based Therapeutic Care (CTC) project in Jawzjan province has treated 359 severely malnourished children aged under 5 and made pregnant and lactating mothers aware of good nutritional feeding practices. We have also distributed 60,000 woolly hats for new born babies as hypothermia is a leading cause of death among babies.

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