|Inside an Afghan refugee camp
When you are told that there are very dangerous men in the hotel, how would you sleep?
Well, we didn’t as every single piece of noise either woke us up. Very much tired and very groggy we woke up. We packed our bags and loaded them in the car. Then our escort arrived. This time not one but two cars full of security men, all very much armed. We were going to pay a visit to an Afghan refugee camp as well as an SOS-Childrens School and primary medical facility. The refugee camp wasn’t a camp full of tents. No, this was more like a city built out of mud. The camp was built during the Russian-Afghan War and as the situation didn’t improve under the rule of the Taliban, lots of refugees stayed and started building the mud-houses to improve their awful situation.
As we drive through we watch in amazement how these people leave. Sanitation facilities lack and we are told many people use the open sewer for collection of water causing many infections and diseases. A world difficult to understand.
The narrow lanes lead to the SOS compound which housed the school and the medical centre. The place was well secured and later we would find out why. There we meet the medical staff and get a tour. Lots of women with their children are present for basic medical aid. Good thing about SOS is, that when a child needs more help, they are picked up and brought to the SOS-Children’s hospital for further treatment. A to Z treatment until the children are cured, we are told.
Next to the medical aid centre lies the school. We meet the principle and visit the classes. All classes are filled with girls. The reason SOS only teaches girls lies in a long term philosophy. These girls will all have children themselves. By teaching them properly, and this means English, math but also health and hygiene education, these girls will teach their children. It will also give women another and more important place in society. The beautiful girls could easily be found on the frontpage of National geographic.
As the area is highly unsafe, kidnappings and murder are the order of the day, we are not allowed of the compound. To get a better view we climb the roof with a security guard. There we see the camp and some children play in the area. When we ask the man who is running the facility if he is happy he tells us he is. He is proud of the A to Z care SOS provides, proud to work for them but also desperate. We ask him why he is desperate. With a sad face he looks over the refugee camp. There are thousands or more children out there I would like to help.
Late in the afternoon we head back to Islamabad. Although we have seen it with our own eyes, seen the extreme and dangerous conditions these people live in, we cannot imagine the harsh world these people live in. Fortunately there are people who face these conditions and are wiling to risk their lives to make a change for the Afghan refugees..