Thirteen is a tough age for anyone, but it is all the more difficult for one Afghan student in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan.
Abdulah, an ordinary student no different from his fellow classmates, is one of the rare lucky Afghan children who could go to school, while others have to postpone schooling because of poverty. But he is not only a student, but also the primary breadwinner of a family of eight. Abdulah's home is a low adobe house, furnished with worn carpets and little else. His father, Mirwais, was injured in the war with the Taliban and was left bedridden.
"When the Taliban came, there were still land mines left during the period of Soviet occupation; they had not been completely removed," "I stepped on a landmine when we were in battle with the Taliban."Since his father is disabled and both of his parents cannot work as Afghan women are not allowed to go out by themselves, let alone work, Abdulah, the eldest child of the six children in the family, has to be the income producer for the entire family. During his weekday routine, he comes home after four hours of school to finish his homework and have lunch, then he leaves for downtown Kabul to wash cars. For every car he washes, he makes 50 afghanis, about 1 U.S. dollar. But that happens only if he is lucky enough to get a customer.
"I can earn about 1,000 to 1,500 afghanis, about 20 to 30 US dollars, for my family every month," said Abdulah.Despite the hardship, Abdulah still has a sunny outlook on life. He says he wants to be a pilot in the future.