Project educating Afghan, Pakistani students launched
KABUL (Pajhwok): The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) in collaboration with the United States Embassy in Islamabad has launched two education projects benefiting more than 1,850 Pakistani and Afghan students.
As part of the Refugee Affected and Hosting Areas (RAHA) initiative, the two projects have been inaugurated in Pakistani cities of Rawalpindi and Taxila near Islamabad, the nation’s capital.
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Population, Refugees, and Migration Bureau at the State Department, Simon Henshaw, and UNHCR’s Representative in Pakistan, Indrika Ratwatte, participated in the inauguration ceremony at a government girls’ high school in Rawalpindi.
They also had an informal discussion with a group of Afghan and Pakistani students who talked about what education meant to them.
Under the RAHA funding, the high school in Rawalpindi would receive additional furnished classrooms and new latrines, and the Government Elementary School in Taxila would have three additional furnished classrooms, a new veranda, and extra latrines.
In September 2014, the United States contributed nearly $9 million to the RAHA programme in Pakistan, supporting 40 projects throughout the country, which will benefit nearly 300,000 people. This includes 19 education projects helping around 12,000 Afghan and 53,000 Pakistani students gain better schooling.
However, the inauguration ceremony remained focused on crossing barriers and facilitating education for Afghan girls who make up the most vulnerable entity of the refugee community due to cultural and economic constraints.
The project also aims at conducting capacity building workshop for teachers and initiating an enrollment drive. Ratwatte said the initiative aims at incorporating and enabling refugees to be a productive part of their adopted society.
School principal Nighat Yasmeen said initially they managed to get only 15 students enrolled from the Afghan community in 2012, but now they had 75 enrolled in the school.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.