Three years after the Government Girls High School Chamtalai in Pakistan’s Swat district was destroyed by militants, Reach Out To Asia (ROTA) and Save The Children have inaugurated a new school bringing hope of a better future for the children of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.
Featuring five classrooms and a science laboratory, reconstruction work began in August 2011 and was completed in April 2012. In addition to the 260 female pupils who will continue their education in the newly constructed building, the school employs 11 fully qualified female teachers.
After dismantling the old school and replacing it with the new two-floor building constructed in accordance with Provincial Disaster Management Authority building codes, Government Girls High School Chamtalai provides the high quality education the pupils were denied, initially by militants in 2009 and then by flash floods in 2010.
Taking part in the inauguration ceremony were ROTA representative Mr. Naseer Iqbal ROTA International Program Specialist, and from Save The Children attended Mr. Ishfaq Ahmad Director Program Implementation, Khurshid Khan Khalil Education Specialist, Rizwan Ul Haq Program Manager and Shamas Khan Additional Director P&D.
“ROTA is proud to provide new educational facilities for the children of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. Children’s right to education must be a priority, especially in communities where education is key to the future”, said ROTA Director Mr. Essa Al Mannai.
“We now have a beautiful building, a school where children will want to work hard and study, a school supported by teachers with abilities. Government Girls High School has all the qualities necessary to make it a successful school.”
Inauguration of Government Girls High School Chamtalai represents the latest milestone in ROTA’s ambitious educational and community development work in the Swat Valley. In total, ROTA is committed to reconstructing two Secondary Schools, rehabilitating 40 primary, middle and secondary schools, supplying educational materials to 50 schools, implementing a teacher training program for 200 teachers and operating youth development initiatives through sports.
Naseer Iqbal, ROTA’s international Programs Specialist said “In Feb 2011, I went to Swat to visit schools shortlisted by Save The Children for full reconstruction. One of the schools was Government Girls Chamtalai and I remember as I entered through the main entrance I saw a building completely burnt and one part was collapsed. In April 2012, I entered from the same entrance but this time I am witnessing a magnificent building.”
Badly affected by militants in 2009 and suffering further devastation caused by flash floods and monsoon rains in 2010, Swat district was in dire need of an immediate emergency response to repair the massive damage to homes and government infrastructure, including 26% of schools either partially or totally destroyed.
“Beside physical damage to school infrastructures, children were traumatized. ROTA understands that the students need a protective learning environment with psychosocial support to enable them to focus on their studies for the long-term benefit of the students and the community,” added Essa Al Mannai.
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