“It was on the day that God distributed food,
Our share was the bread that fell on the ground from his hand”
In a remarkable initiative, the Kabul Municipality, in cooperation with the local residents of District 10 in Kabul city, gathered late last month to clean the city from rubbish ahead of upcoming winter.
As part of this gathering, around two thousand municipal employees, directorship of green municipality and many local residents of District 10 came together to clean the streets.
Habib Ahmad Habibi Ghori, general director of municipal sweepers monitored the program, and appreciated public participation, urging more citizens to come forward and help keep the city clean.
At the meantime, some residents of this area that had participated in cleaning, said that initiative was temporary and symbolic.
However, the event provided a shocking insight into the lives of the city’s sweepers and cleaners.
Untold stories of municipal employees
Citizens frequently complain of negligence and delay on part of the Municipality, and civic inaction is often reported across media. However, this time, municipal employees told Paiwandgah their side of the story. How they strive to keep the city clean despite the poor wages, unfavourable working conditions, and yet, at times, they face the wrath of fellow citizens.
Lal Gul, a 40-year-old municipal employee share his plight. At 5800 Afghani salary, his only demand from Ashraf Ghani is to increase their salaries so they can feed and cloth themselves. “He has increased salaries of teachers. He should think about us too!,” he says, as he shows Paiwandgah his meagre lunch of stale bread.
Another employee, Gul Mohammad, supervisor of municipal employees told Paiwandgah how the municipal employees have frequently been insulted, humiliated and even beaten by residents.
But despite this, the they urged citizens to be more aware of their city. Mohammad Naeem, a 30 year-old who has worked as municipal employee for 12 years, advises, “It is our job to clean the city, but maintaining the city clean is the citizens’ duty.”