Afghanistan is the poorest country in Asia, and perhaps the most war-torn, conflict-ridden country in the world. British control eventually gave way to a communist revolution that was completed by the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1979. Backed by the US, anti-communist rebel organisation, the Mujahedin, succeeded in toppling this regime, only to be ousted by the Taleban in 1996.
The country has been further ravaged by the US response to the terror attacks of 11 September 2001, so that seven million people are now considered to be vulnerable to severe food shortages, and 3.5 million have been displaced from their homes. 72% of Afghanis are illiterate, and there is approximately one doctor for every 5,000 people.
Afghans are in great need of the life-changing hope that child sponsorship can bring to their families and communities. You can sponsor a child in Afghanistan through ActionAid, one of the world's leading relief and development agencies. They have developed a child sponsorship scheme which links people in more affluent countries with individual children in developing countries around the world.
ActionAid joined with a plethora of aid organisations in 2002 to help rebuild shattered Afghanistan. Now playing an active role in 60 villages throughout the country, ActionAid focuses on improving access to basic sanitation, health and education facilities. It has invested in the training of health workers and the provision of health services. It also invests in the improvement of education facilities and the training of teachers.
ActionAid has also been a champion of women's rights, and helped bring a delegation of Afghani women to the UK and the US in 2005 to raise awareness of their plight. Forced marriage, rape and domestic abuse are very common; women don't have any inheritance rights, and it is practically impossible for them to divorce. They are unable to develop independence from their husbands, and are not permitted to work.
In the 37 years since its inception, ActionAid has reached many millions people in Africa, Asia and the Americas, and it has developed a wealth of expertise in fighting poverty. The charity partners with local organisations and recognises the need to work with communities on their own terms, and not impose solutions. By getting to know the culture intimately ActionAid workers have the best possible opportunity to affect a lasting end to poverty.
Sponsoring a child in Afghanistan today will cost you only 50 pence per day. Your money will also go towards development efforts in the town in which the child you sponsor lives. This will ensure the most efficient and effective use of your money.
As a child sponsor you will be able arrange a personal visit with your child and to communicate with them. You can also look forward to receiving special letters and drawings, including a new photograph every two years. Additionally, you get to see where and how your money is being spent by keeping in touch with your child's local ActionAid office, and through regular editions of Common Cause, ActionAid's newsletter.
You may also like to consider sponsoring a child in Afghanistan through World Vision