When the first day of the new school year starts in Afghanistan on Thursday, 3.7 million boys and girls won’t be in attendance, because of increased violence, displacement and poverty. The total number — roughly one in three school-age Afghan children — is expected to grow this year as violence between Afghan forces and the Taliban intensifies, and Pakistan forces Afghan refugees to return home, according to Save the Children, an advocacy group.
We spoke to five of those children. Here are their stories in their own words; they have been translated and edited.
I loved going to school, but we don’t have enough money to buy notebooks and other things. Our relatives are angry at us for leaving school, but without notebooks it was not possible to study and do homework.
If I don’t go to school, I will become nothing in the future; if I go to school, I will become a doctor. I want to become a doctor.
We live in tents here; we have two tents. I sleep with my five brothers and sisters in one tent, and my father, mother and two small sisters sleep in the other.
Read more at nytimes.com/afghan-children