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■ The Joy of studying in a classroom - Pakistan School rebuilding project (Part 1)  (2013/06/10)

Supported by the grant assistance for Japanese NGO projects, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan


Seven and a half years have passed since a huge earthquake hit North Pakistan in 2005 and an effect reconstruction of education facilities such as schools has yet to proceed.

Pakistan 1
Posters for the election
remain everywhere

Now there is a division between "Strategy schools" where the government will be able to allocate its budget to rebuild and "Non-Strategy schools" where the rebuilding is not planned due to insufficiency in the budget.
The government is now calling international organizations like NGOs for their supports in rebuilding those "Non-Strategy schools."

In Mansehra district of KP (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) province which is located close to the epicenter of the 2005 earthquake, there are only two organizations that responded to this call and their needs.
KnK Japan is, in cooperation with a local NGO, FWA (Friends Welfare Associations), one of these two organizations that have been supporting rebuilding Non-Strategy schools around this area. The other is UNICEF.

Last May, we visited Pakistan to monitor this rebuilding project. It looked to me that there are still aftereffects of the national election on May 11 which caused major rumblings in the country, even 2 weeks after the election.

Mansehra district is located in North West Pakistan and is only 60km away from the epicenter. The city center is almost 1,000m high and is surrounded by even higher mountains that extending to the Himalaya Mountains. The difficulty of rebuilding schools is attributed to this geographical feature as well as the inconvenience of transportation.

Pakistan 2
The roadway along the mountain is also a road for students
to go to school.

Pakistan 3

This elementary school for girls we visited in Susal Jhangar village was newly opened in 2012. After opening, more than 120 students come to study at the school sharing their desks. The number of students increased by three times the population before rebuilding, and some students temporarily have their classes outside of regular classrooms. They have kept studying outside, next to the ruins of the old school, without any sanitary facilities for 6 years since the earthquake. It is nothing else but their wish for education that kept them studying hard outside even during a hot summer or a cold winter.

When I asked them what they like about Pakistan, they answered such things as its beautiful nature, the people and animals.

Pakistan 4

When I asked them what they want to be in the future, they said they would like to be doctors or teachers.
They know that educational opportunities and medical services are both insufficient in the mountains. It reflects their strong will to say they wish to work for somebody else as a teacher or a doctor even though they live in a conservative area where girls tend to receive more gender restrictions.

Unfortunately there are no middle schools for girls rebuilt around here yet and they have no place to continue studying for their futures. We strongly understand that it is urgently necessary to provide educational opportunities for them to pursue their studies and dreams without giving up.

(Continued in Part 2)

* This school construction project in Pakistan is made possible by the contributions of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Grant Assistance for Japanese NGO Projects” and individual supporters in Japan.

Reported by Akinori Kumamoto
Nonprofit Organization Kokkyo naki Kodomotachi (KnK)
4-3-22 ShimoOchiai Shinjuku-ku Tokyo 161-0033 Japan
Tel:03-6279-1126  Fax:03-6279-1127
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