Ronah (from project update)
Rebuilding Education in Afghanistan
Save the Children to renovate 10 schools:
In districts north of Kabul, Save the Children is currently assessing facilities that will be renovated or rebuilt into 10 new schools. The assessment takes into consideration the number of school-age children in the area; whether there are large, safe places to play nearby; the level of community support and interest; and whether girls will be allowed to attend school as well as boys.
Our other educational programs in Afghanistan:
Save the Children has many years of experience in working with Afghan refugees in Pakistan. In recent years, Save the Children, in cooperation with UNICEF, has led a multi-agency campaign to improve the educational environment for Afghan children in Afghanistan and in refugee villages. An “Education for Afghans” initiative assessed educational needs and outlined a strategy for increasing children’s access to education, improving the quality of education, and strengthening the capacity of the education sector.
Subsequent work has involved leading a multi-agency initiative with UNICEF to develop Basic Competencies of learning in mathematics and language (guidelines on what children should know, understand and be able to do at the end of each primary grade) and teaching-learning materials that have been included in the Interim Authority Ministry of Education’s “Back to School Campaign.” Save the Children is participating in the “Back to School” program in areas where it operates – Faryab and Sari-Pul provinces in northern Afghanistan and in Kabul Province -- by distributing education materials, conducting a school-awareness campaign, establishing Parent-Teacher Associations and by reconstructing and building schools. Where the buildings are not yet ready for children, Save the Children is helping communities set up temporary tents to house classes.
Schools “are in ruin”:
But there is much to be done. A visit in March to Kabul and the Shamali Plains, one of the areas most badly affected by conflict, by Save the Children Director of Education Fred Wood illustrated that much of Afghanistan’s educational infrastructure is in ruins. “It was much, much worse than I expected,” said Wood. “It’s like a World War I battle site. Schools, where they are standing, are less like classrooms for children’s learning and more like caves, stripped of whatever materials, furniture, roofs, window frames, and doors that once made them lively centers of learning.”
Save the Children’s field office in Kabul will work with the Interim Ministry of Education and local partners, including communities, to rehabilitate 10 destroyed educational facilities in the Shamali Plains area.
Meet two Afghan girls eager to attend school:
Among those children that Save the Children will be providing basic educational tools to may be Ronah and Rita, both 12-year-old girls living for now in an internally displaced persons camp in Kabul. Ronah came to the camp a year ago after living in the Shamali Plains where her family had a house and her father was a farmer. “There was fighting there very close to our house. It is better to be here than in the fighting there,” she said. Ronah attends a Save the Children school in the camp and says, “I like all of my classes but I like math the most. I like when the teacher asks questions and I can give the [correct] answers. It is important to be educated. Then I can teach others what I have learned. If there wasn’t this school I would not have anywhere to go.”
Rita says, “In Shamali, there was only a school for boys not girls, so I didn’t go to school there. There is a school now. Before we could never leave the house. Now we can go to the clinic or to school. My life is better. We have history and math. School is important because you earn about everything. You become enlightened and can read. In the future I want to be a teacher. I want to teach other people what I learned.”
Our Education Plans for Afghan Refugees in Pakistan:
- In 2002, Save the Children will target 4,000 women through Non-Formal Education (NFE) in Balochistan and Haripur refugee villages in Pakistan. As part of the NFE program, women attend informal groups where they develop reading, writing and numeracy skills and where they are able to exchange and discuss ideas and information relevant to their lives.
- Save the Children’s Child-Focused Health Education program targets about 800 children between the ages of 6 and 12 in Haripur refugee villages in Pakistan. In response to the unmet demand for primary education, Save the Children will open six three-room schools in Haripur refugee villages for grade 1 boys and girls that will provide access to education for around 420 to 450 students in 2002.
- The Quetta City Schools Project supports an association of self-help Afghan schools for unregistered refugee children by providing stationery supplies and classroom materials to 42 schools with 14,000 students, and by strengthening the organizational capacity of the association.
- Save the Children supports some 100 primary schools, including home-based girls schools with a total number of nearly 17,000 students enrolled in Balochistan in Pakistan. Save the Children provides teacher training, classroom resources, textbooks and stationery, teacher salaries, and some building materials. Save the Children also works with communities to develop and strengthen Parent Teacher Associations and to increase interest in education. A School Health and Nutrition Initiative promotes nutrition and hygiene education and supports schools to carry out vitamin A supplementation.
Rita (from project update)