“Newroz” or New Year is celebrated every spring in this part of the world. For the children, Newroz also means the start of another school year. This year, Shelter Now was able to open a new school for girls in Afghanistan and the 16th new primary school in the earthquake zone of northern Pakistan.
Education – a basic human right
In the West, children mostly take it for granted that they go to school every day. But in the rural areas of Afghanistan, that’s not the case at all. During years of working there, we have built quite a number of schools – beginning 20 years ago in the Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan. More recently we have focused on villages in Afghanistan.
We recently completed a new girls’ school in the village of Sabz Sang, about an hour’s drive north of the capital Kabul. Our staff insisted on organizing a little opening celebration for the students. With sweets for the children and lots of fun, the day was a huge success and likely to be long remembered by the students.
On October 8th, 2005, northern Pakistan was hit by a devastating earthquake. In the initial months, Shelter Now helped around 100,000 people to survive the cold winter in the mountains. Then in 2007 we began rebuilding primary schools destroyed by the quake. School number 16 was recently completed and handed over to the students and their teachers. Government officials have praised the high quality of the buildings, which have been constructed to withstand an earthquake (up to a magnitude of 8.6 on the Richter scale) and also cater for disabled students.
We plan to complete another three schools this year.
Education is not only a basic human right – educated people are also less likely to fall prey to the ideology of the extremists.