Fighting adversities, Omar,
"I want to make it big", "I want to restore Kabul to its past
beauty", words of a confident, independent forward-looking 13 year old
Omar from Kabul, Afghanistan.
Born and brought up in Kabul, city of half constructed dilapidated bullet
ridden buildings. A city comprising of poverty-stricken population
with hardly any basic amenities for itself. In this city, Omar lives
with his family comprising of six sisters and four brothers. His
father owns a grocery store while his mother is a housewife.
Five years back, Omar and his family members were going through a very
rough and turbulent phase. Living a fearful life defined by extreme
poverty, Omar had no option but to work on the streets at an early
age. He was hardly 8 years old when he with his siblings started
selling plastic bags and made an earning of 50 Afghanis on a daily
basis while his father used to work in a grocery store. Giving all his
earnings to his parents and keeping a minimal amount (5 afghani) to
himself, Omar was living a life characterized by absence of school,
surrender of his desires, hopes and wishes for the financial and
emotional welfare of his family.
In 2003, Omar joined Aschiana, which is an Afghan non-government
organization that provides services, support and has different
programmes for street and working children and for their families in
Kabul. He initially became part of the education and painting
programme but with the opening of Butterflies' initiated Children's
Development Bank (CDB) in Aschiana in 2004, Omar actively involved
himself in running and campaigning for the bank. He opened his account
in June 2004 with a minimal amount of 5 afghani and within a year i.e.
by June 2005, Omar had 1800 afghani in his account. Extremely proud of
himself, it is with his money saved in the CDB, Omar's father opened
his own grocery store in Kabul city and the family was also able to
pay the monthly house rent (1000 Afghanis), which saved them from
being removed from its premises.
At present, Omar is the Bank manager and earns 1000 Afghanis on a
monthly basis. He and his siblings no longer work on the streets and
all of them go to a reputed school in Kabul. Out of the 1000 afghani
that Omar earns as the Bank manager, he gives 800 afghani to his
parents and the remaining 200 he keeps to himself that he uses to buy
materials for school like books, notebooks, pens etc clothes for self
as well as for his parents and siblings. No longer does he submit his
wishes and desires and aims to fulfill the needs of his family members
to its fullest. By contributing to the household expenses, Omar feels
very happy and content and thus feels worthwhile.
Extremely pleased, Omar considers the Children's Development Bank as
lifeline for children like him who with the help of the Bank can live
a life of respect and dignity. He believes that the Bank has made him
independent, self-reliant and has also been a means for him to learn
banking skills. Aiming to be a banker, Omar is working hard and with
his conviction and sincerity, sky is the limit.