TEHRAN.(Iranart) – O n the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the World Food Program (WFP) presence in Iran, an exhibition of drawings by Afghan refugee children was held on November 23 at the UN agency’s office in Tehran.
A total of 30 crayon works priced at 4 million rials ($100) each, were on sale. “The money will be given to the children’s families and to the school where they study,” actress Vishka Asayesh said at a press briefing prior to the exhibit, ISNA reported.
“Each drawing is a story and offers a sociological perspective into the lives of refugee children. We can understand their feelings and concerns through the drawings. They convey to us the emotional and psychological support they lack,” said actress Leili Rashidi.
WFP has been assisting refugees in Iran since 1987. However, it is now replacing most of its food assistance with cash.
According to the program’s website, WFP is also supporting activities that will enhance the livelihoods of refugees and help them acquire skills to rebuild their lives when they return home. These activities specifically target Afghan women, whose economic participation is usually very limited due to restrictive socio-cultural norms in their war-ravaged country, and aim to promote their self-reliance and self-confidence.
As refugee girls are often ignored when it comes to education and are often married off early, WFP is offering Afghan families cash incentives to enroll their daughters in school and ensure that they do not drop out.
Many of the Afghan refugees in Iran are second or third generation refugees who have never seen Afghanistan. Most of them took refuge in Iran either after the Soviet invasion and occupation in 1979, or following the civil war in the 1990s and the US-led invasion in 2001 that created death and destruction on a massive scale in one of the poorest countries in the world.