I can’t resist a story about people “paying it forward” — helping others as they have been helped. Today’s story is set in Afghanistan.
Maija Liuhto writes for the “Making a Difference” series of the Christian Science Monitor, “At a school in the capital of Afghanistan, little boys wearing oversize white uniforms hurry down a flight of stairs to make it to judo practice, while girls in colorful headscarves eagerly wait for their tailoring class to begin upstairs. Hashmatullah Hayat, a project supervisor at the school, offers advice to the children who pop into his office asking about their computer classes or English homework.
“All this may sound like a typical scene. But Aschiana is not a regular school. And Mr. Hayat may best symbolize what this school is accomplishing.
“The boys and girls who study here are street children. Some of them spend much time selling balloons to passersby or collecting plastic on streets that are ruled by gangs and drug lords.
“Hayat was once one of these children. But while still a boy he found his way to Aschiana, taking a special interest in its painting classes.
“Now he’s a smiling young man with impeccable English, the walls of his office decorated with his own impressive artwork.
“Hayat’s life story has become an inspiration to the children who are struggling to get off the streets. And he’s determined to help them as much as he can, even though living somewhere else could be less risky.
“ ‘No, you cannot say that you feel safe here,’ he says. But for him, leaving the work he is doing is not on the table: ‘If the people at Aschiana were able to help me, then I should also be able to help others.’
“Aschiana operates in various corners of Afghanistan, and it is currently helping about 5,700 boys and girls get access to basic education.” More about Hashmatullah Hayat here.
Photo: Maija Liuhto
After being a student at Aschiana, where he learned art well enough to start selling it at 16, Hashmatullah Hayat now works there and helps to educate street children.