In took a community just three months to repair their high school but the project will be a force for good for years
6 OCTOBER 2013 | KHOST, AFGHANISTAN
It took masons and workers in eastern Afghanistan’s Shamal district three months to repair their local high school but the project’s impact will be felt by the community for years.
“We now have 700 students enrolled and we’ll have no problem finding new teachers if we need them,” says the school’s principal Hamid Mohammad.
It is an upbeat statement and Mr Mohammad goes on to explain why the building work was so important. The school was so badly damaged, he recalls, that most of the classrooms and toilets were unusable. “The doors and windows were broken,” he adds. It made for low morale among students and teachers alike. Every day, fewer children came to class and many teachers sought work elsewhere. Shamal High School’s decline was a matter of great concern because it was the only one in the district. Worried that falling attendance might force the school to close, Mr Mohammad and other members of the community sought help from the local government.
With USAID support, a call to action was issued by the local authorities and nearly 200 local masons and laborers set to work rebuilding the school’s boundary wall, repairing the front gate and toilets, replacing doors and windows, patching roofs and walls and painting everything.
“We could not be happier,” says Mr Mohammad. Attendance has returned to peak levels and 80 per cent of the district’s high school age boys are enrolled. There are 12 teachers.
The principal says his school fulfills a crucial need as a route to higher education for boys in the district. “Last year, 60 per cent of our graduates went to college. That number is only expected to increase.”
Last updated: January 07, 2014