Every afternoon, while the Pul-e-Surkh neighborhood in Kabul, the Afghan capital, begins to come to life, 10-year-old Breshna takes her bag of socks and chewing gum and starts working in the cafes. local shops and supermarkets. Dressed in disjointed clothes and her hands numb with the cold, she goes for business, bringing her articles for sale, not to mention the sorrow of losing her father and mother.
Breshna was six when her father died of cancer, pushing her to work while most other children were entering school. Two years later, her mother passed away, leaving the eight-year-old girl to fend for herself almost entirely while she was living with her grandparents and aunt.
But since last year, his weekends have been different. She was able to miss her work and attend the Afghan Street School without Borders, taught by Afghan Peace Volunteers, where she learns Dari language, nonviolence, art , everyday life and mathematics.
"There is a war going on here. Every day people die. This is not life. It is not healthy, "said Dr. Wee Teck Young, an international mentor of Afghan Peace Volunteers. "We need to make fundamental changes to improve the lives of more people."
My experiences with Najib and other Afghan refugees like him have made me feel very humane and alive
Dr. Wee Teck Young
Wee, a Singaporean aid worker, has been living and working in the Middle East for more than a decade. His first meeting with the Afghan people was in Quetta, Pakistan, where in 2002 he joined aid to war refugees.
There, taking a photo with an orphan named Najib and her grandmother, she said angrily, "Why are you asking Najib to smile? There is no reason to smile. "
"I cried later when I remembered these words," said Wee. "My experiences with Najib and other Afghan refugees like him have made me feel very humane and alive."
Since then, he has tried to help change as many Afghan lives as possible. He graduated from the National University of Singapore with a master's degree in family medicine and in 2004 traveled to Bamyan province in the central highlands of central Afghanistan to become a doctor.
Wee was quickly found in a province where people were in dire need of doctors.
"I went to two isolated villages to teach people basic first aid and health care," he said. "I was fortunate to be able to link the local health directorate with the Singapore Provincial Reconstruction Team to create a health training center for health workers, nurses and nurses. doctors."
Wee moved to Kabul in 2012 and created the Afghan Peace Peace Volunteers, a non-profit, non-governmental organization. Housed in a ruined building in the city center, he strives to eliminate inequalities, promote non-violence and create a green land.
The organization has about 70 active members. They run a winter duvet project, a local cycling club, workshops on non-violence, peace conferences, worker cooperatives, microfinance and a food bank. In 2015, they launched the School for Children Without Borders, Afghan Street Street.
"The Food Bank represents our long-term effort to collect local food donations for the 117 children enrolled in school," said Masuma Hussaini, Afghan Peace Volunteers Coordinator.
"Volunteers from the food bank team went door-to-door to find donors for the food bank."
Meanwhile, an international humanitarian organization finances monthly food gifts for street children. In a country where half of the population lives below the poverty line, these provisions help many families to survive.
"We can rely on the food products we receive every month," said Breshna's grandmother in her rental housing unit. "We are grateful for that."
Wee explained that if his efforts did not reach the entire Afghan population, he was nevertheless happy to be able to help a small group of people in need.
"It's all about changing and helping those around me, either as volunteers or receiving help through programs," he said. -he declares.
Masuma Hussaini, a master's student at Shaheed Rabbani Education University, joined the center as a volunteer teacher during her first year at the university. Now she is the only paid Afghan Peace Volunteer and earns enough to earn a decent living.
Hussaini herself wove carpets in high school to provide for her low-income family.
"Working with Afghan volunteers for peace has changed the lives of people every day.
"In addition to having a job now, my close friends tell me that I am kinder and more compassionate since I joined the center and interacted with Dr. Hakim," she said, using the Afghan name of Wee, which was given to him by locals while he was in office. in Quetta.
Wee has been working as a volunteer for over ten years without pay.
"The program I get the most energy from is Street Kids School," he told Dari. "I like to see smiles on the faces of Afghan children."
Among the many children who attended school in 2015, Inaam, aged 14, was a shoe shineer who frequented the street and attended school classes without Afghan children without border weekends. ends.
His drug addict father being almost absent, the teenager had to work and study to contribute to the survival of the family.
Now, Afghan Peace Volunteers are a second home for him. He is no longer a shoe shineer and is studying in eighth grade in a public high school. During the winter holidays, Inaam spends most of his time with the Afghan Peace Volunteers and with Wee, who treats him like a son. ■