Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, February 22nd, 2020

Challenges of Extreme Poverty Loom Large in Winter

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 Challenges of Extreme Poverty Loom  Large in Winter

If you walk in Kabul streets, you will see many children worried about their life struggling from dawn to dusk to make the ends meet. If you park your vehicle somewhere in the streets, you will see children start cleaning in return for a penny. Likewise, if you stop your vehicle in a taxi stand or bus stop for passengers or commuters, you will see a child comes to you and start calling loudly to attract passengers. Then he takes 5Afs and leaves for another vehicle. This is their daily activities just to find a morsel of bread and survive the peril of misery.
It is not only children but also men and women. It is really daunting for me to see the female beggars sitting in the streets in the cold morning of Kabul winter. They sit on the humid surfaces and perhaps their feet will feel numb with cold. Some of them also carry their children in the same cold weather. Isn’t it difficult to imagine such a life?
It is a matter of great surprise and concern for me the way they survive. The frigid winter and high inflation, especially the high price of fuel, challenge their life seriously.
One day, it was about five thirty in the evening and darkness had crept into the city. A female beggar could be seen shivering with cold, drenched in rain walking and imploring more people for charity. When she stretched out her hand to me, I was overwhelmed with a strong sense of disappointment. Even though, I was touched by the picture, nonetheless, I repressed my feelings and breathed no word. She continued wandering from shop to shop and street to street. The rain and cold gave her no mercy. Such sad stories are always been repeated around us.
Presently, we see more female beggars in Kabul city and it is believed that many of them are those who have no bread-earners in their families. They struggle to nourish their children. Therefore, begging is the only way left for them. It is beyond doubt that begging is disgrace for women and, in turn, a large number of them put on burqas while begging. Ill-fatedly they are with no choice other than accepting this humiliation.
There are some people, displaced internally, live miserable life under tents suffering from food and fuel shortages. The only glimmer of hope they maintain is the government and charitable organizations to send them financial aid.
Administrative corruption is a great factor in poverty across the country. It is evident that billions of dollars poured into the country within more than a decade were pocketed by the powerful officials or perhaps members of Mafia.
Economic insecurity is one of the factors which affects our life. Four decades of war has affected the life of people adversely. This results in serious economic pressures. The trace of war is still felt tremendously in the country; however, insecurity exacerbates the situation. Insecurity limits job opportunities for younger generations. Sometimes the bread-winners lose their lives leaving large families behind without any financial supporters. Moreover job insecurity compounds the challenges. Hence, insecurity is one of the factors which disturbs the flow of economic process across the country.
Poverty is most likely to breed many other challenges in collective life. For instance, the graph of street crime has surged up and a number of youths show higher tendencies towards crime and corruption as a result of being pressured by poverty. Kabul residents have no peace of mind since the crime has increased in every nook and cranny of the city.
Meanwhile, poverty and lack of jobs will also pave the ground for moral corruption, which will put cultural and religious values at stake.
Moreover, many of our youths and children will abandon schools and universities to make the ends meet. Illiteracy will be one of the issues to be given birth by poverty and support crime across the country.
Furthermore, child labor will continue and children will be forced to do back-breaking jobs so as to alleviate the economic pressure of their family members.
To alleviate the poverty, the government has to create job for the citizens, especially younger generations who graduate from universities. If the government continues turning a blind eye to the ongoing challenges, more challenges will emerge and make the situation intolerable for the citizens.
The government should also monitor the market prices so that traders and shopkeepers do not increase the rate of goods out of their personal wills.

Hujjatullah Zia is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan and freelance writer based in Kabul. He can be reached at zia_hujjat@yahoo.com

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