This is Zaher’s Story

One of four siblings Zaher grew up in Kabul and was the son of a bricklayer. His mother ran a small business in their family compound, where women would bring their dough to be baked in their ovens. The family struggled financially and Zaher’s parents would often behave violently towards him. One day, Zaher stole money from his parents and ran away.

Zaher made friends with other boys who lived on the streets, but he wasn’t safe. It became habitual for members of street gangs to sexually abuse Zaher.

Eventually, Zaher’s parents found him. When he told them about what had happened to him on the streets, his father locked him in the basement. Zaher had brought shame on the family by being sexually abused. His father told him he was unclean, and threatened to kill him.

Zaher’s siblings were his only way out, and they freed him from the basement and helped him to leave home for a second time.
Back on the streets, Zaher tried begging as a means of income. It didn’t work, and Zaher found himself going without food and water for days. The police found Zaher and referred him to Hagar. Zaher now lives in Hagar’s Forgotten No More shelter – the only shelter that exists for abused and trafficked boys in Afghanistan.

Zaher is now thriving. He is a healthy and happy child who loves to learn. He excels in English and IT and has attended vocational training to learn how to fix mobile phones.

“I am really very happy and thankful for the services provided here,” comments Zahar.

Hagar is now also providing Zaher’s father with counselling to help him overcome barriers of shame and accept Zaher safely back into the family. It will be a long journey but Hagar’s team are persevering and hold hope that one day Zaher will be back with his family.

“One day, I will be back with my family again. I’ll be an engineer and serve my people. I will improve my family’s situation when I am a man,” Zaher, a resilient child survivor of abuse.

Learn more about our work in Afghanistan

Hagar pursues the highest degree of care and protection for each of its clients. To protect the identity of our clients, names have been changed and images do not necessarily represent the individual profiled.

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