Page last updated at 12:25 GMT, Thursday, 4 March 2010

Learning about Kabul's dangers

You can hear the students on the radio on 11 March
BBC Radio 5 live - Breakfast
BBC World Service - Newshour

School Reporters from the UK learned about the harsh realities of daily life in Kabul when they linked up with students in the Afghan capital through a BBC radio studio.

But Dom, Kavita, Emily, Morgan, Callum and Eleanor from Winterbourne International Academy in Bristol also found they had a lot in common with Hawaa, 14, Habibullah, 16, Yasin, 17, Ramzia, 10, Omer, 16, and Duaa.

Here, the students from both countries describe the experience.

By Omer
School Reporter, Kabul

When they leave their homes, they don't know whether it's going to be the last time they will ever see their family
Emily, Bristol

When in the morning we open the window, we wish to see a view of peace, but we see the smoke of explosions, the shout of injured people, the sound of sadness and poverty, and the buzz of attacks.

We expect many suicide attacks during the day, and we never know when one of us will be a victim of those attacks.

I feel very happy that the children and students of UK live with prosperity, tranquillity and sympathy. And I feel very bad that we are excluded from living so. We never dare to hope we will come back home at the end of our school day. We, and our parents, live with this big fear.

By Emily
School Reporter, Bristol

Students from Winterbourne International Academy
Going live to Kabul... the students from Winterbourne Academy in Bristol

When we first started chatting everyone was very nervous but, about halfway through, all of us got used to talking to the children. We asked some questions and the answers were shocking.

One of the children in Kabul said they had seen people being killed in front of their own eyes. They also said the children that go to a private school have security to walk them to school. They added that, when they leave their homes, they don't know whether it's going to be the last time they will ever see their family.

When we go to school every day we say a lasting "Khudaa Hafiz" to our parents
Yasin, Kabul

Schools in Kabul do not mix boys and girls. They have private schools, which their parents have to pay for, and public schools which are free. The number of children in a class in Kabul is about 10 whereas the classes in English schools have about 30 or more.

They started to ask us questions, which none of us knew the answers to, such as which year did Big Ben get built? And, why did Big Ben get built? Because we didn't know the answer to the questions, it made me feel that we should know about our British history because Big Ben is a famous landmark.

War in Afghanistan has been going on for about 30 years. We asked them if they, or any of their friends, wanted to become a soldier when they were older. They answered: "No, I don't want to become a soldier and none of my friends do either".

We asked them what the weather conditions were like and they said, "sometimes it snows and we like to build snowmen and have snowball fights with our friends".

Talking to the children in Kabul is life-changing and eye-opening. I have now made six new friends, who are halfway round the world, and I will never forget this experience.

By Yasin
School Reporter, Kabul

We have problems with litter, bullying and graffiti
Eleanor, Bristol

I got to understand [the children in the UK] are living a comfortable and secure life, which is something missing in Afghanistan. As, when they go to school, they don't feel security problems. When we go to school every day we say a lasting "Khudaa Hafiz" (May God protect you) to our parents. We hope we will see them again at the end of the day. Who knows? We may be dead as a result of a suicide attack somewhere in the city.

While I was speaking with the English children, I was not feeling like I was in Afghanistan. I was feeling like I was in the UK, because I had never thought one day I would be able to sit with British kids and speak with them and share with them in such a friendly manner and with that much brotherhood.

I understood that they were non-Muslims, but they expressed their sympathy saying we were very brave.

By Dominic
School Reporter, Bristol

At 1130, the Bristol students greeted the students in Kabul for the first time and we told them our names and ages. It was Callum's birthday, so they all wished him a happy birthday.

Even though we are so different, we still have some similarities
Hawaa, Kabul

Callum asked: "Do you play any musical instruments?". They replied: "Yes, we play the Rubab, Dombura mostly. What do you play?"

Morgan replied: "We play lots of instruments, like the guitar, piano and the keyboard". They asked if there are any security problems getting to school. We replied: "No, what about you?"

They answered: "You are very lucky, we have to risk our lives every day to get to school, we could get kidnapped or killed". Everyone in the room then said they were exceptionally brave to do that.

Then they started to ask us about our school. "Do you wear school uniform? How many students do you have in your school?"

Dom replied: "We wear a blazer, grey trousers and shirt for our school uniform and we have about 2,000 students in our school". They said they wore a school uniform and have about 1,500 students.

Kavita asked if they did PE, and they replied: "Yes, but we can't do anything outside because of the soldiers".

They asked us: "Do you have any problems at school?"

Eleanor replied: "Yes, we have problems with litter, bullying and graffiti".

The conference lasted just over an hour and a half. When we said goodbye, they said that all the people they had just spoken to were their friends and that it was a pleasure to speak to them.

By Hawaa
School Reporter, Kabul

What I really appreciate is that, even though we are so different, we still have some similarities, such as having pets, hanging out with friends and playing instruments. It is really amazing how two sets of different nationalities can get on so well when they have never seen each other before.

The few things I learned from the conversation we had with kids in UK was that it doesn't matter where you live or what kind of situation you go through in life, it is about what you really want in life and how hard you try to achieve your goals.

One thing I really wanted to see was the children themselves - their facial expressions, their looks and behaviours.

As for my conclusion, I want to say that times change, so I hope the people of Afghanistan get out of this darkness and come to unite as one nation; stop war and fighting and build their country and widen their visions.


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