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Life of Afghan Refugees in Peshawar

100610_qaiser_khan My name is Qaiser Khan, and I joined JEN on May 30th, 2010 as an administrative and finance officer at the Islamabad office. I am originally from Nowshera, Pakistan, but since 2004, I have been living in Peshawar, Pakistan with my family. Because Peshawar is only 65km away from Turkhum (the boarder of Pakistan and Afghanistan), many Afghan refugees came to Peshawar during the civil war between 1980 and 2001. Since then their life as refugees in Peshawar has begun.

People who have been educated started their career as a teacher or an agent that sends people abroad legally or illegally, and those who have not been educated supported their families by working as drivers or selling fruits. While relatively rich Afghan refugees live in cities like Hayatabad, Peshawar, and other comfortable places, poor refugees were leading a miserable life in refugee camps or small villages.

Recently, however, refugees came to appreciate education. This is because they believe their country’s political situation has improved and came to believe that they will have a better future if they receive quality education. According to an official source, the number of registered schools has now reached 313 in Peshawar and student enrollment is approximately 117,375. 4,695 teachers educate the young generation who is responsible for the future of Afghanistan. However, among the 313 schools, unfortunately, none is established by the Afghan government. All schools are private, costing from Rs.200 to Rs.600 per month.

During my visit to these schools, I observed that the school infrastructure is poor, and the majority of the toilets (95%) are in such a bad condition that no one could use it.  During personal interviews, moreover, most students expressed dissatisfaction with their teachers’ incapability, and many believed that the school was opened not to provide quality education but solely for lucrative purposes.

In the whole of Peshawar, there is no orphanage for young Afghan refugees, nor is there a hospital in which refugees can get free medical care. We must not forget about their living conditions in Pakistan as well as in Afghanistan.

June 10, 2010 in Afghanistan |