Years of conflict, natural disasters and the fallout of COVID-19 have pushed Afghanistan to the brink of disaster. Today, more children in Afghanistan are going hungry than ever before. More than 5 million children are now just one step away from famine. Our teams are on the ground in Afghanistan delivering life-saving health and nutrition services.

In the United States, where thousands of Afghan children have arrived seeking refuge from escalating violence in their home country, Save the Children has mobilized to meet their most urgent needs. Your support is needed now more than ever. 

Help Save Children in Afghanistan

Afghan children have known nothing but conflict their entire lives.

Right now, the situation for children in Afghanistan is dire, with at least 75,000 having had to flee their homes in the last months amid escalating violence. Even before the Taliban takeover, Afghanistan was crippled by hunger and poverty; as COVID-19, conflict, and drought combined to create a food crisis of a scale not previously seen. 

Save the Children has been helping in Afghanistan for over 40 years. Our resolve to help has never been stronger. We have now re-started our programs in all provinces, including Kandahar, where our mobile health and nutrition teams are providing urgent relief to children, babies and mothers.

In the U.S., Save the Children is committed to ensuring Afghan children and their families are safe and protected as they seek refuge in America. We’ve been providing essential supplies to newly-arriving children and families at transit shelters. Through Save the Children’s political advocacy arm – Save the Children Action Network – we are building bipartisan urge the U.S. Government to welcome more refugee families into the country, and continue to support our life-saving humanitarian work in Afghanistan.  

Join Jen Garner to Help Afghan Refugees in the U.S.

In September 2021, Save the Children Trustee Jennifer Garner visited our programs at Dulles International Airport and a nearby temporary refugee shelter in northern Virginia where our teams were supporting the immediate needs of newly-arriving Afghan refugee children and families.

Almost 40% of Afghan refugees arriving at Dulles were children under 12. Many arrived exhausted and shivering, with nothing but the clothes they are wearing.

Afghanistan is one of the worst places in the world to be a child. Families who try to flee to safety are facing unimaginable horrors. All children have a right to live in a world free from violence. You can help by contributing to our Afghanistan Crisis Children's Relief Fund

Afghanistan Crisis: Latest Updates

With winter approaching and the health system and economy near collapse, the situation for children in Afghanistan has never been more dire.

We're working to provide children and families in Kandahar with life-saving health and nutrition services

A boy walks with his back to the camera through a refugee camp.

Save the Children has been helping families in Afghanistan since 1976.

There has never been a more important time to affirm our dedication to the Afghan people and our commitment to stay and deliver.

In mid-September, we restarted our life-saving services in ;Afghanistan’s southern city of Kandahar. After carrying out thorough security checks, we can now ensure that both male and female staff will safely be able to return to work delivering essential health and nutrition services for children.

The recent escalation in violence in Afghanistan forced Save the Children to suspend our programs in the country in mid-August. 

We're supporting newly arriving Afghan refugee families seeking safety in America

A boy wearing a backpack looks at the camera.

As the national leader in protecting children in emergencies, Save the Children has established safe child-focused spaces at a large temporary shelter at the border of west Texas and southern New Mexico, where kids can have a moment to be kids again, begin to express themselves and cope during this scary and stressful time.

Save the Children will also be co-leading a children’s working group engaging federal and nonprofit agencies, which will focus on the critical needs of both unaccompanied Afghan children and Afghan children travelling with a family member. 

In addition, we are providing essential child-focused supplies to newly-arriving children and families at temporary shelters in Indiana, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin, including diapers, wipes, strollers, portable cribs, clothing, laundry bags, and learning and activity materials.

The Challenges for Children in Afghanistan

There is not a single child in Afghanistan today that has not grown up amidst conflict.

Chronic conflict and political instability have strained Afghanistan throughout its modern history. Extreme natural disasters, especially droughts, have only made matters worse, thrusting the country's economy and infrastructure into ruins and its people into extreme poverty.

Afghanistan is among the worst conflict-affected countries to be a child. Tragically, millions of Afghan children are growing up in high-intensity conflict zones, forcing many families to flee. Over half of the world's refugees come from three countries – Afghanistan ranks second, at 2.7 million.

  • 1 child in 16 dies before their 5th birthday, 3 times that of the U.S.
  • 5 million children are one step away from famine
  • 2.6 million children are out of school
  • 27% of children are engaged in child labor, instead of learning
  • 55% of people live in poverty
Map of Afghanistan

Our Results for Children in Afghanistan

Save the Children provides health, education, child protection, nutrition and livelihoods services, reaching over 1.6 million Afghans in 2020.  
A girl in a head scarf sits and blue shirt sits in a beam of light. Two girls sit behind her..

  • 376,000 children aided in crisis
  • 241,000 children educated and empowered
  • 93,000 children healthy and nourished
  • 36,000 children protected from harm
  • 187,000 children lifted from poverty

A History of Our Work for Children in Afghanistan

Thanks to your generosity, Save the Children has been a leading charity in Afghanistan since 1976, with the aim to ensure children can grow up healthy, educated and safe.

The targeting of nongovernmental organizations – such as the January 2018 attack on our office in Jalalabad – makes our work difficult and dangerous. So we’re bolstering our emergency preparedness and protection, ensuring systems are in place to keep our staff safe and continue our urgent work.

Together with local communities, government ministries and partners, we’re working to improve children’s physical and emotional health, nutrition, sanitation and hygiene, education, protection, food security and livelihoods.

We’re improving the delivery of crucial health and nutrition services to underserved communities. We’ve made great progress in leading community-based education, recognized as a key solution for out-of-school children. Protection remains central to our work, and we’re increasing the scope and quality of our programs. We reach hundreds of thousands of children through our humanitarian programs each year. And we continue to give children a voice to ensure that their rights, such as girls’ education, are guaranteed.

Here are some recent examples of our work:

A healthy start in life

  • Save the Children is training health care workers and supporting government health initiatives
  • In underserved communities, we’re supporting rural health centers and mobile health teams and raising awareness on proper health, sanitation and hygiene practices
  • To treat malnourished children, we’re operating therapeutic feeding sites and providing nutrition education
  • We recently integrated mental health support into our health and nutrition programs

The opportunity to learn

  • We’re working with the education ministry to establish community-based and accelerated classes, with the goal of returning children to school by grade 7
  • Through our community-based early childhood care and development centers, we’re supporting early cognitive development so crucial for lifelong learning
  • We’re advocating for early education, and we were instrumental in drafting the first-ever national preschool curriculum
  • We recently introduced our proven Numeracy Boost approach in multiple schools, including teacher training
  • We provided training in vision and hearing screening, as well as in adapting classrooms to better serve children with disabilities
  • We’re providing innovative information technology that allows teachers to share knowledge, experiences, challenges and best practices

Protection from harm

  • We’re working to reduce the number of children involved in harmful child labor, improving access to protective environments and supporting youth and families by offering social services and vocational training
  • We’re advocating for children’s rights and building the capacity for child protection at the government and community levels
  • Our teams are actively engaging communities in changing behaviors and attitudes so children’s rights are observed and respected
  • Through sponsorship, we collaborated with the government to develop the Child Rights in Islam handbook and engaged religious leaders to proactively promote child rights and protection
  • We welcomed the endorsement by presidential decree of the Law for the Protection of Child Rights and continue to advocate for its implementation

How You Can Help Children in Afghanistan

You can create change that lasts a lifetime for children in Afghanistan – in so many ways.

Donate to the Afghanistan Crisis Children's Relief Fund
Donate to help provide desperately needed relief to Afghan children and families arriving in the U.S..

Shop Gift Catalog
Give a meaningful gift that will help transform children’s lives and futures in Afghanistan and beyond. There’s something for everyone!

Support Afghanistan via Cryptocurrency! Thanks to PleasrDAO, Doge NFT ($DOG), all crypto donations to Save the Children will be matched up to ~$1 M USD value ($950,000 USD total amount before processing fees) between now and 12/31/2021. Challenge us to raise another $1M USD for children. Simply put ‘for Afghanistan Crisis’ in the ‘Donation notes’ field. You can also mention your NFT project, token, coin, exchange or community name to be included on our #HODLHOPE leaderboard. (For example, ‘$DOG for Afghanistan.’) Donate crypto now.

Sources: Facts and statistics have been sourced from Save the Children’s monitoring and evaluation experts, as well as our thought leadership publications, including our Global Childhood Report 2021 and Stop the War on Children 2020 report. Other sources include CIA World Factbook and BBC Country Profiles.


Photos: Anna Pantelia / GMU / Save the Children.


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