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A teacher's story

"My name is Shapiry," she writes on my notepad. Too shy to speak, she is nonetheless proud of her English. "English is important for my future," she writes, then smiles. Shapiry is in her 30s, and fled the fighting in Charikar 18 months ago. Now she lives among the thousands of mud-brick homes in Shamshatoo. "I came with my husband, who is also a schoolteacher, and our five children," she says.

"Life as a refugee is not easy, but it is better than war. My children can grow up in peace until there is no more fighting in Afghanistan. My husband doesn't have a job, and I only get 1,800 Pakistan rupees a month (just over pound;21). Humanitarian organisations help out with food, medicines, clothing and shelter."

Shapiry teaches six mornings a week. "I had just graduated from high school when the Taliban banned women from teaching and prevented girls from going to school. I wasn't allowed to go out of my house without a male relative. The first time I was free to teach was here at the refugee camp.

"We are just people who are scared for our childrenI I hope all the world will pray for real peace, so we can give them the future they deserve."

UNICEF has set up a playground which is in heavy use after classes. Two swing-sets, a teeter-totter, a basketball net, a merry-go-round and a slide are immediately over-run with laughing girls and boys. It is filled with the same laughter, horseplay, cuts and scrapes as other playgrounds around the world.

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