Nov 14, 2008

The Nest

The Afghan Street Working Children and New Approach, or ASCHIANA (literally 'the nest' -- اشیانا -- in Persian), is an Afghan NGO (non-governmental organization) that supports working children on the streets of some of Afghanistan's most dangerous urban areas. Due to the massive male death toll in Afghanistan during the Taliban era, these children are often the breadwinners for their family, barely supporting their (often large) families on less that US$20/month, often by begging, scavenging, or selling incidental items such as cigarettes or chewing gum.

"ASCHIANA works together with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Education, Ministry of Social Affairs and the Afghan National Police to help children on the street receive a basic education — in Dari, Pashto, English, mathematics, Islamic Education, health education, mine awareness, drug awareness and children’s rights — and integrate into the formal school system.
ASCHIANA students also enjoy recreational activities through sports, music and art, and receive training in skills such as carpentry, woodworking, cosmetology, tailoring, painting, instrument making, electrical engineering and plumbing. ASCHIANA also provides health, financial and social support for students and their families."

They are supported in the United States by the Aschiana Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charity organization founded in 2004 in Washington DC. It helps ASCHIANA by poviding assistance in filling basic needs, such as hot food, footwear, schooling, medicines and refugee habitation where needed. ASCHIANA assists over 10,000 children in three Afghan provinces (Kabul, Mazar-i-Sharif, and Parwan).