Secondary school Mohammad
in Qala-ye Murad Bek, north of Kabul | 2005
After intensive research, the IAWA decided upon the community of Qala-ye Murad Bek, a place heavily contested by Mudjaheddin and Taliban ca.30 km north of Kabul, where due to the destroyed schools -regardless of weather effects and extreme temperature variations – the local children were taught in the summer and winter in open spaces or UNO-supplied tents.
Following intensive research, the IAWA eventually had decided on the municipality of Qala-ye Mura Bek, an area strongly contested by Mujaheddin and Taliban during the war ca. 30 km north of Kabul, where, due to the schools destroyed by the war, local and other children -girls and boys- were taught regardless of weather or temperature in all seasons in the open or in UNO-supplied tents.
The population consists mainly of former refugees, among them a high number of unaccompanied women with children, who returned after the horrors of war to their recovering home district of Qala-ye Murad Bek, from the Iran or from Pakistan. Thankful for the IAWA’s engagement, the municipality of Qala-ye Murad Bek gave it a free plot of 4,000 square metres for the construction of the school.
-In the middle of April 2004, the cornerstone ceremony, in the presence of the chairwoman of the association Laila Noor, took place. In the meantime, Mrs. Noor had flown several times to Afghanistan to personally obtain information on the progress of the construction works and to coordinate possible wishes and proposals for the design with the school board.
In March 2005, the inauguration and official handover of the school, generously co-financed by the UNO-Refugee Aid in Bonn and many sponsors, was effected. For the Independent Afghan Women’s Association, chairwoman Laila Noor and the treasurer, Jutta Frfr. von Taube, took part.
In addition, an official delegation from the municipality of Qala-ye Murad Bek, the Afghan government’s education minister, representatives of the German embassy and French officers from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) – who had donated some of the furniture – took part in the inauguration, which was met with great joy and gratitude by the local population, the school management and the children.
On the school premises, protected by a 2-metres-high wall, the school building, solidly built with bricks, with now 16 classrooms, a staff room, conference room and a well-supplied library, as well as an outhouse with six toilets, is situated. Moreover, a well and a water reservoir have been installed, as well as a sports field for the children and a terrace, on the wish of the community and for the purpose of communication, have been laid out.
In addition to that, there is a beautiful garden, to the delight of the chidren and the school staff. – In the meantime, they also built a spacious gatehouse, so that the school grounds can be monitored around the clock.The school – originally designed for 500 children – is now used by 2,300 girls and boys, who are taught in three shifts and in separate classes. At the school are 20 teachers, head teachers and the principal, a gardener and a guard, while some of them take upon themselves a commute of about an hour for being able to work there. Their salaries and the current costs are paid by the Afghan government.
Since December 2005, alphabetization and sewing courses for women, apart from regular classes, take place on three afternoons a week.
The courses, led by two female teachers, are visited by 65 women and are met with an increasing interest. The financing of the basic course equipment was taken on by the IAWA. They also pay the salaries of the two teachers who run the courses part-time: 50 USD per month. – Meanwhile, the women do not only produce clothing for their families, but also, helping people to help themselves, for poor members of the community, and also needleworks for sale.
As the school in Qala-ye Murad Bek, still run by the IAWA, is one of the few schools that are open in winter, and as it now enjoys an excellent reputation both among the local population and within the ministry, the Afghan super-minister, who was accompanied by several members of parliament on a visit to the school, and the Afghan minister of Education proposed in May 2009 that this elementary school be expanded into a secondary school.
Up to the equivalent of the A-levels, a 12-year school attendance is intended. The IAWA has carried out the necessary reconstruction successfully in the past two years. Moreover, the IAWA plans, after a visit by Mrs. Noor in April 2010, the extension of the school by a second floor.