“In spite of how hard it is in Afghanistan … I believe in the Afghan people and their ability to make their country right” – Marnie Gustavson.

Wakhan Corridor, BadakhshanAfghanistan. A landlocked mountainous country rich in landscape and culture, a country that has withstood three decades of ravaging wars, of which the scars are so prolifically visible.

The name Afghānistān means ‘Land of the Afghans’. Its historical status as a crossroads has led the country to develop into a truly multi-ethnic society. Afghanistan has a population of around 30 million people inhabiting 34 provinces made up of an area of approximately 250,000 sq miles.

Afghanistan-physical-map - CopyThe continental climate of harsh winters and hot summers coupled with the unforgiving terrain, from the high mountains to the flat desert, makes for a challenging existence for those who live there.

Over the years, the Afghan nation has made stable progress towards creating a democratic government. However, Afghanistan remains high on charts ranking countries in categories of ‘most impoverished’,  ‘least developed’, and ‘most corrupt’. One of the after effects of the years of war and subsequent lack of foreign investment which has led to:

  • Over 2 million children classed as orphans as a result of the wars with over half a million children living on the streets.
  • Unemployment rate is 35% with approximately the same percentage of people residing below the poverty line.
  • Literacy rate of the entire population is low, at about 28%, female literacy may be as low as 10%.

Still, Afghanistan is a unique nation with a population of proud people, and hope for a better future abounds.