The phone call that saved a girl's life

War Child Child Helpline Afghanistan
Nasrin (left) is a Social Worker at our Child Helpline in Herat, Afghanistan

In the early hours of the morning, Nasrin answered a call from a 17 year old girl with a trembling voice.

Her name is Shukriya and she had just taken opium to kill herself. 

Nasrin has worked for the War Child Child Helpline in Afghanistan for the last 5 years. She regularly answers calls from children like Shukriya who need help.  

This wasn't the first time Shukriya called the Child Helpline. She had been in touch the day before when she told Nasrin her heartbreaking story. 

When Shukriya was just 16, she was forced to marry a boy from the family that lived next door.

Shukriya suffered a great deal during her marriage. She was regularly abused by her husband, mother and others in the family. 

Nasrin and the Child Helpline team wanted to help urgently, involving a legal support team.

But Shukriya was nervous and refused to share what was going on outside of her family.

The next morning, in the early hours, Shukriya called again desperate for help. She had just tried to kill herself. 

Immediately, Nasrin and the rest of the team contacted the police. 

With only the name of her village, they needed to find Shukriya before it was too late. 

Luckily the social workers managed to reach her just in time. She was taken straight to hospital where doctors saved her life. 

Nasrin and the Child Helpline workers knew that Shukriya couldn't go back to her abusive husband and mother. 

They contacted End Violence against Women Unit and the Department of Women Affairs who took over her case. 

They worked quickly to push Shukriya's divorce through court. 

We're relieved to share that she's now living with her caring brother. And most importantly, she is safe and happy. 


War Child Child Helpline Afghanistan
Nasrin educating girls about their rights as part of the Child Helpline awareness campaign

The Child Helpline in Afghanistan has received 6,672 calls since it was set up in 2010.

It's been a lifeline for children . If they are ever in danger of injury or harm - they can call the toll-free number to be put in touch with a War Child social worker within minutes. 

We also run projects to make sure that children and their communities know about child rights (including protection, education and access to justice). 

We've recently transferred the running of the Child Helpline to the Social Welfare Department of the Afghan government. Now it will continue to support vulnerable children for years to come. 


About the authors:

Aneeta Williams is the Head of Programme Quality at War Child UK.  Eshaq Karimi manages our programmes in Afghanistan. 

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