11 Jan 2008

PR# 2008-019

ISAF meets with Afghan youth group

The Afghan youth group called, Youth Generations, recently met with members of ISAF’s Bagram Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) to propose new programmes, which help to keep Afghan children away from violence and drugs.

Youth Generations is an Afghan organization similar to Boys and Girls Clubs in the United States. It organizes activities to keep Afghan children away from violence and drugs.

Started three months ago, the organization has nearly 3,000 Kapisa children involved in soccer and volleyball leagues, karate and Kung Fu classes, chess clubs and more.

“We started this Youth Generations to keep young people away from drugs and the fighting,” said Hashmat Ashaq Zada, through an interpreter.

This was the first meeting between ISAF’s PRT and the organization, which is currently funded by donations and funds from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Youth Generations also holds English and computer training classes for Afghans in Kapisa Province who have already completed high school.

“This group is already conducting computer and English training with very little funding, which shows they are serious about helping the people of Kapisa,” said Capt. Erick Saks, PRT representative. “It’s young people like this who really can make a difference in this country.”

There were Youth Generations representatives from many of the seven districts in Kapisa, and each shared a similar goal for helping their country.

There are approximately 350 students currently enrolled in English and computer classes in four districts. The classes are one year and teach four years of basic English to Afghans ages 18 to 35.

“In order to participate in the program, people must be literate or have completed school already,” said Zada.

The organization presented a proposal to ISAF’s PRT to expand the classes to every district in Kapisa. The one-year course would teach 250 to 500 students per district.

Youth Generations would also like to start reading and writing classes for Afghans in Kapisa who have never attended school and are too old to attend now.

“Youth Generations agreed to present us with a proposal for classes that will help teach illiterate people in Kapisa at our next meeting,” said Captain Saks.

“I got into helping children while I was playing soccer,” said Mahmood Safi, through an interpreter. “They would come and watch our games and I felt bad for them so I decided to make a difference.”

Nearly 500 players make up the 30 teams of the youth soccer league in Kapisa. There are eight teams per age group and the league plays is year round, with four tournaments.

“We have themes for the soccer tournaments,” said a Youth Generations representative, through an interpreter. “One will be the anti-drug tournament.”

The organization also wants to expand its soccer league but currently lacks facilities like soccer fields. Their progress is also hampered by security concerns in districts like Tag Ab which are hot beds for insurgent and Taliban activity.

“These people are important because they are preparing the next generation to lead Afghanistan,” said the captain. “Young people are the future.”

Contact Information ISAF Public Affairs Office
Tel: +93 (0)799 51 1155 - Mobile: 0093 (0) 799 55 8291 pressoffice@hq.isaf.nato.int - www.nato.int/isaf/