Jenny Seymour is a volunteer in the CAFOD Hallam office. Yesterday, I went to the theatre to see Matthew Spangler’s adaptation of Khaled Hosseini’s acclaimed novel, the Kiterunner and it reminded me of the work that CAFOD do to help the role of Afghan women.
I absolutely love the novel, the Kiterunner, and in fact, I love many of Khaled Hosseini’s works on life in Afghanistan. I’ve now read the book, seen the film and watched the play adaptation and each one has moved me incredibly. As I watched the play last night I found myself wondering, “What would I do?” – would I step up to the mark and help my fellow citizens of the world/my friends when they need me the most? I like to think I would, but the harrowing events of this story actually take place when the lead character is 12 years old. I think a 12 year old can be forgiven for running from their fears, after all he is still a child. However, unfortunately, in the war-torn world we live in children have witnessed such atrocities and, like Amir, the lead character in the Kiterunner, their lives are changed forever.
Children are forced to grow up quickly and many have to drop the lives that they have known and loved to go on a difficult and dangerous journey across the globe – but they are still just children, with the same hopes and dreams that our own kids would have. They have a right to be safe. The play last night also tackled the issue of refugees. Amir and his father make the difficult decision to leave Afghanistan for America when the Russian army move in. They are cramped into a pitch-black truck with many other families and are treated very badly. People who may have been wealthy, well educated and highly regarded in their own country are left to find mundane jobs to make a living. I thought that this aspect of the play was really well produced and the audience are really able to empathise with this change in status of the family as their lives progress.
I left the theatre last night with a sense of guilt, but thankful that I have not had to witness first hand the atrocities of war and that, for now, my children are being brought up in a safe environment.
Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world. 30 years of conflict mean that a third of the population lives on less than 60 pence a day, one in six children die before their fifth birthday, and the average life expectancy is just 48. The status of women in Afghanistan is especially low. CAFOD has been supporting communities there since the 1980s. Their work focuses on peace in the region, women’s rights and improving peoples’ lives so that they can grow out of poverty.
The work CAFOD has done with its partners has enabled women to start their own businesses and save. In particular, saffron is grown and traded.
Please support CAFOD’s partners in Afghanistan and donate to our work – click here to donate.