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Meet Farhad Darya - Save the Children's new ambassador in Afghanistan 26 Nov 2015

Save the Children Afghanistan has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with prominent musician and well known child rights activist Mr. Farhad Darya, who will be representing Save the Children Afghanistan nationally and internationally. Mr. Darya who is also the recipient of Human Rights Award comes with a rich background of human rights activism. Here is an exclusive interview with Mr. Farhad Darya.

Welcome to Save the Children family! When you become a Save the Children ambassador, what attracted you the most, of the work we do, to join us?

It is an honor to represent a well trusted community who has a long, rich history of bringing life and happiness to the most vulnerable citizens of the world. Since I have been working for the needy children of Afghanistan during the last two decades through music and my own charity organization called "Kochah" (“street”), I have always dreamed of collaborating with a much bigger organisation to be a more effective and deeper influence. My goal in regards to working for children is to create a safe environment for them where they can play, learn, laugh, and stay healthy and worry-free; an environment where a child can be a child - not an adult. This is what Save The Children has been doing for almost a century. In short, I believe that Save the Children is one of the wings to fly with to realise my dreams for the future of the small citizens of the world. 

Tell us about your past experience as a UN goodwill ambassador – what causes are closest to your heart?

I served as the UN Goodwill Ambassador twice; first with UNDP to fight for development and second time with UNODC to fight against drugs and crime. However, working for children has always been the closest cause to my heart. I myself feel that I never had a real childhood, despite coming from a vast, wealthy family. My son Hejran, who is almost 20 years old now, always teases me and says, "Baba Darya, you have a little kid inside of you!" He is right; I miss the childhood I didn’t fully experience! Now, you can only imagine how the children who must work to provide for their family don't know what childhood really is. The second cause is working for women - the most marginalized citizens. In Afghanistan, children & women are the two most accessible and defenceless groups of people who have been suffering not only during the last four decades of war, but for centuries, unfortunately. Sadly, they are second-degree citizens in this country!

What are some of the challenges you think children in Afghanistan face currently?

Poverty, war, insecurity, lack of health care, harmful old traditions, sexual abuse, dangerous life styles, and a dearth of basic services. However, in my opinion, the lack of access to education is the biggest challenge they face in this country. When UNICEF declares Afghanistan as "The Worst Place to be Born,” it clearly indicates the degree of the challenges that Afghan children face today. 

What do you think you, as a musician, a rights activist and an ambassador, can do to bring about a change?

Every change starts with believing! Tangible change happens only once you clarify it in your own mind first. Public figures like myself can influence the minds of the people. We should encourage and mobilise them to change themselves as well as the world outside their minds! Our fame is like a tree. This tree has value only when either it grows fruit or gives you a shadow or shelter. People like us are capable of touching the masses' hearts & feelings easily and quickly. Therefore, we need to be very careful in using our popularity in regards to bringing about positive changes. 

Does your work as an ambassador for children’s causes inspire your work creatively? Tell us a bit about how…

As a creative artist, I can't separate my mind and heart from my daily activities. To be honest, I live my life with all my blood and bone! A pure smile on a kid's face can change my life. I learned a lot of tough and precious lessons from street children who work for survival and never forget a smile on their little faces that comes directly from their big hearts. While I was there to give them a chance at a better life, at the end of the day they taught me a bigger lesson... That lesson is called HOPE! I learned from them how to be strong and never live hopeless for a single moment.

If you had one wish for children of Afghanistan – what would that be?

Oh, it is difficult! I wish a kid could live like a kid, smile like a kid, laugh like a kid, play like a kid, and sleep in a bed where no worry or anxiety bugs and bites him/her!