Fact sheets: Afghan children on the move

With funding from the European Union, UNICEF identifies children and young people who have become victims of irregular migration

Shahnaz, 7 show her painting to camera. “I want to be an artist in future” says Shahnaz from Ferdousi internally displaced camp in Nahri Shahi district of Balkh province of Afghansitan.


Afghanistan remains one of the most dangerous countries in the world to be a child. Households face constant danger from conflict and natural disasters. The country's worsening economic crisis often compels families to make desperate decisions, such as forcing girls into early marriage or encouraging their children to seek work. 

These "children on the move" often leave Afghanistan, sometimes for several years, to seek employment. Most get involved in low-wage jobs in the informal sector or small-scale business sector. If these children return to Afghanistan, they often hold trauma, face the challenges of years of lost learning, or have no received decent healthcare. 

With funding from the European Union, UNICEF identifies these children in need and offers them opportunities towards a better future, such as psychosocial support, healthcare, education or vocational training. For children traveling between Pakistan and Afghanistan - the only two remaining polio endemic countries in the world - UNICEF provides vaccines at border crossings to stop transmission of this disease. 

Since 2018, UNICEF has been reaching out to children and young people on the move, supporting them and their families, offering a pathway to hope and opportunity and seeking to end child migration in Afghanistan.

UNICEF Afghanistan