Marga Flader and
report on their visit of the projects in March and April 2019
For the first time, this year’s journey was seriously affected by Taliban activities in the districts south of Andkhoi. Since December 2018 the Taliban have taken control of some police posts and tried to impose their own rules in these areas. Our Afghan partners urgently advised us to stay away from this still unsafe region. These were bad news for us, but much more for the poor people who live there.
Nevertheless, many teachers of the Women’s Projects and a large delegation of teachers from our Education Centre, as well as the senior staff of all projects, came to a meeting at Mazar- e- Sharif. This way we got first-hand information about the development of our projects in and around Andkhoi. While a big number of refugees sought shelter in Ankhoi in December and January, and our staff was very active with emergency relief, most families had returned to Qurghan now. Our Women’s Centre was only closed briefly. Our head of the Women’s Centre saw even more women coming for visits than before. Here they can exchange news and talk freely about their problems with the Taliban.
In intervals, and at the whim of the local Taliban, girls from 7th grade onwards are forbidden to attend school, as well as computer and English courses. At other times, school and course visits are suddenly recommended. Our staff members hope that this situation will end soon, at the latest after the elections in September.
Both Women’s Centres run successfully, and a third centre for the northern district of Khancharbagh is being planned with enthusiasm. We and all women there only wait for the approval of Misereor to give financial support. Besides a lot of meetings and good talks with our staff we also had the opportunity to visit the 10 schools that will be involved in our “Capacity-Building-Project”. These schools have been built up by us throughout the last years. They have pupils from 1st until 12th grade, who are mostly trained in three shifts. From first to third grade, boys and girls attend class together, while the older girls and boys are in separate classes. No child is rejected and there are no tuition fees, so the schools are crowded with students.
To organize lessons for 2000 to 5000 pupils while facing an essential lack of teaching personnel and books is a huge task for the principals. Quite a few female and male principals do their job very well though. The Afghan Education Ministery has released guidelines to organize school development committees for more participation and support between schools and their communities. At some schools these committees already work quite well – even with elected committee members. Our head of office at Mazar, Mir Ahmad, has already informed all school principals about our project: Starting in autumn we will offer seminars and counselling support to learn how to reorganize school administration and gain support through involving teachers, heads of boards, pupils and their parents as well as the communities. Our support will also include the construction of new buildings for computer and science lessons.
The first school we built in Mazar 2002 desperately needs a thorough renovation and an additional building for the girls in advanced level. The German consul at least offered financial support for the renovation from a fund for small projects. The application will be made in Afghanistan. During our visit of this school we also had a lot of fun with happy children at the kindergarten, which has been built by Afghanistan-Schule e.V. We would wish that more childcare institutions had such a relaxed and child-friendly atmosphere!
We were also lucky to visit the school building construction at Aibak in Samangan. Experiencing the fresh green nature and the impressive mountains on the way gave us joy.
Afghanistan could be such a wonderful country for tourism and travel if this war of over 40 years could be overcome! Hundreds of Afghans from all around celebrated their New Year at the ancient Buddhist monastery of Aibak with a carousel, fun fair, egg sale and music – a happy celebration that stirs hope for peaceful times.
Of course, the Education Directorate board hopes for further support for the construction of additional schools - the need in the whole country is enormous! To create an effective improvement of school studies, many more classrooms would be needed. Only then would it be possible to organize lessons in only two shifts, instead of three or four, making it possible to teach all necessary subjects properly. We really want to give more support – but that requires a lot of money!
By the way: Through public and private efforts, many streets and schoolyards have been planted with trees and other plants – giving hope!
Another good news:
Our literacy courses at Andkhoi that are financed through our own donations are still enthusiastically visited by the young and older women of the region. Every Euro is well spent here! Some of the visitors of our women centres are university students now and one former student conducts the sport program of the fitness centre at the Women’s Centre at Ankhoi. Some former students of our Education Centre ask for financial support for their university studies at Mazar – they are in dire need of this support!
Marga Flader and Tanja Khorrami
Account for donations:
Name: Afghanistan-Schulen e.V., Deefenallee 21, 22113 Oststeinbek (Germany)
Bank: EthikBank, Martin-Luther-Straße 2, D-07607 Eisenberg
IBAN DE71 8309 4495 0103 0410 50 (BIC: GENODEF1ETK)