Afghan girl begging for bread, yearning to go to school (while global leaders dine on $500 wine)

Posted on November 14, 2008



KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) — Little Banafsha wakes up in her small mud home, has a cup of tea and braces herself for the day ahead.

Banafsha, learning in a center run by Aschiana, an Afghan NGO, says she wants to become a teacher. She is just 11 years old but she is the breadwinner for her family. Literally. Without the bread that she begs from strangers, she, her sisters, baby brothers and mom would all go hungry.

Banafsha desperate during a hard day of begging for food

Banafsha desperate during a hard day of begging for food

Her father is a drug addict, focused only on his next high, her mom cares for the little ones and heavy responsibility falls on Banafsha’s young shoulders.

Every day she heads far from her home, trekking up and down steep hills to the wealthier parts of the Afghan capital where she can but hope richer people will take pity on her.

She is not bitter, explaining: “My two younger sisters also work. They beg for bread and sell gum — there’s no choice.”

When she gets to the Wazir Akbar Khan district, a hangout of diplomats and aid workers, she unwraps her folded rice sack.

“Sir, do you have some bread?” Watch Banafsha and other Afghan kids ask for help »

Crossing a graveyard to get where she can beg

Crossing a graveyard to get where she can beg

Banafsha clutches the bag tight as she walks from building to building, eyeing who will help and who will not.

“Sir, do you have some bread?” she asks again.

This is her recitation for the next six hours, as she darts around in her worn blue plastic sandals, knowing that danger could be there at any turn, even in this more affluent neighborhood.

“A few days ago, some girls were kidnapped around here and many people have gone missing. The girls’ mother still comes around here looking for them but they still haven’t been found,” Banafsha says.

Watch the story of our little sister, Banafsha

This time of the year the sun begins to set at 4:30 p.m. in Kabul. But Banafsha continues to roam the dark streets. The 6 o’clock rush hour is her peak business time.

Her eyes well up with tears, but she doesn’t allow them to fall, quickly wiping them away and biting her thumb like the vulnerable child that she is.

She prays everyday, “I say ‘God take me out of this poverty and have my father go work so I can go to school.’

She dreams of being a teacher and for three hours a day she gets to be a little girl with big dreams

If you wish to help, please inquire about the Aschiana Foundation at

World Leaders Discussing Global Financial Crisis Dine on $500 wine at White House

(CNN) – The global economy may be undergoing a significant downturn, but the White House’s dinner budget still appears flush with cash.

After all, world leaders who are in town to discuss the economic crisis are set to dine in style Friday night while sipping wine listed at nearly $500 a bottle.

Shafer Cafernet Hillside Select wine at $500 a bottle

Shafer Cafernet Hillside Select wine at $500 a bottle

According to the White House, tonight’s dinner to kick off the G-20 summit includes such dishes as “Fruitwood-smoked Quail,” “Thyme-roasted Rack of Lamb,” and “Tomato, Fennel and Eggplant Fondue Chanterelle Jus.”

To wash it all down, world leaders will be served Shafer Cabernet “Hillside Select” 2003, a wine that sells at $499 on

Please click here to read about White House gluttony while the remainder of the world and Banafsha starve.