Educated Women and Former Government Employees Clean the Streets of Balkh

Some educated women and employees of the former government in Balkh province have been forced to clean the streets in cooperation with the municipality due to their poor economic situation. Some of these women, who have studied theology, higher education, and English literature, say that they have been in difficulties since the fall of the previous government. This opportunity is provided by the United Nations Development Program in the north of the country. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has provided employment to 600 women in Balkh over the past month to enable them to improve the livelihoods of their households. These women have been employed in three nine-day periods to clean the streets of Mazar-e-Sharif from dirt. Among these women are some who have spent many years learning science and knowledge. But now they have to roll up their sleeves to find a piece of bread, cleaning the streets of Balkh from dirt with a hungry stomach and thirsty lips.

Razia, a young woman who graduated from midwifery, has not been able to find a job in a health institution. “Not only me, but the problem of most of the educated citizens in Afghanistan is unemployment,” she said, who has struggled to find work. “I sent my CV to several departments, searched several hospitals, but could not find a job. I decided to do everything I could to help my family. That’s why I came to register for this program.”

Fawzia (a pseudonym) was an employee of a former government department and is now unemployed. When asked about her life and problems, tears welled up in her eyes and she said, “I was a government employee, but now there is nothing to do. I call on the government and aid agencies to provide us with jobs. Do not give us charity, give us work. My two children are sick, but I cannot afford to take them to a doctor. I sold their quilts to bring them bread. I also borrowed from shops. What else should I do?”

Hassina, 20, is a student of English language and literature at Balkh University. She said her father was ill and unable to work, so she had to sweep the streets of Mazar-e-Sharif for 500 afghanis per day. Hassina is happy that she can provide a piece of bread for her family, but she is worried that she will be unemployed again after the end of this short-term program. “I am a student of English language and literature at Balkh University, but economic difficulties caused me to go out and clean the roads,” she added. “This is a short-term work plan. I expect it to continue, at least until the end of winter, when I will be able to pay my rent and family expenses.”

On the other hand, UNDP officials in Balkh province say that these women have been hired to clean up the city of Mazar-e-Sharif, receiving 500 afghanis per day for their work. “We really covered a small number,” said Hafizullah Rouhani, UNDP office development coordinator in Balkh. “We cover only 600 women in need in five districts of Mazar-e-Sharif in 27 working days, and in other areas, the needs are too high. People call us every day and want this program to continue.” Implementers of the program also say they are working to provide more employment opportunities for women with the help of the United Nations.

With the Taliban taking control of the country, employment opportunities reached a record low. Women are the main victims of this problem in Afghanistan. The Taliban have multiplied their problems by imposing severe restrictions on women’s right to work and education.

The post Educated Women and Former Government Employees Clean the Streets of Balkh appeared first on Hasht-e Subh Daily.

Source: Hasht-e Subh Daily

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