In Afghanistan, there are literally hundreds of young children growing up in prison and sharing a jail cell with their mothers, many of whom have been imprisoned because of “moral” crimes, such as that of simply being a woman who went outside her house, unaccompanied by a male.
The majority of these children face years of imprisonment, cut off from the outside world, yet being completely innocent of any offence. And the majority of them are are very young, which makes sense, as it is the youngest children, including newborns, who are in need of the greatest care from their mothers, even if that means being in prison.
These children rapidly become desensitised to their environment and are often vulnerable to the influence of genuine criminals. And for the women’s children who have been left with relatives outside the prison, they are often disowned and left to live off the streets. So in prison or not, these children are highly vulnerable to becoming drug addicts and falling into crime in a system that encourages both criminality and despair.
There is a generation of young Afghans growing up never knowing what it is to run free, with the wind behind them and sun on their faces, to see flowers and birds, to play beside rivers or run in the hills. In effect, to be children. Rather they grow up institutionalised, fearful of life outside the prison and preferring to stay behind the prison walls, rather than facing the harsh realities of life outside.
- Pray for the children of Afghanistan, especially those of convicted women living in jail.
- Pray for these women, to have hope for their children’s future and for themselves.
- Pray for the children left to fend for themselves on the streets. that their fathers and relatives will not reject them, but seek to care for them and love them as their own.
Matthew 18 vs 5: Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
Source: Al Jazeera.com