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Back to School in Charikar

During September, children across the world have been returning to school following the summer holidays. For students at Noman High School in Charikar, Parwan Province, there was a brand new building waiting for them, reconstructed by UMCOR Afghanistan under a project funded by GBGM, the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church.

The official school opening ceremony (see photo left) took place on 14 September 2004 and was attended by the Head of Mission for UMCOR Afghanistan, David Harbin, and Koray Inanc, Reconstruction Director, as well as local community leaders and most importantly, the students themselves. Noman High School caters for around 3,800 students. Although the students are predominantly male, there are also 300 female pupils and there is a girl's school nearby. Lessons will be held in three shifts.

For Noman High School students, the completion of building work means they will benefit from uninterrupted teaching this winter. Many Afghan children have found themselves forced to learn in tents, in the open air, under trees or in the remains of bombed-out and war-damaged buildings. Under these conditions, school in winter-time is not an option. Now students at Noman will be able to attend class during cold weather too!

The school is one of several to be rehabilitated under various UMCOR projects which aim to restore vital aspects of local infrastructure destroyed as a result of war in Afghanistan. In 2003, UMCOR renovated a high school for 1,800 students in Rokha, in Pansheer district, Parwan Province. Under a US$ 4.6 million project funded by the United States Agency for International Development, school buildings, currently little more than ruins, will be renovated and rebuilt by UMCOR in the coming months.

UMCOR has also assisted schools in Gardez with the provision of water. Here, UMCOR staff have drilled a well to enable these pupils (see photo left) access to a safe and reliable source of drinking water. The project, also funded by GBGM, provides for the construction of wells throughout Paktiya province. UMCOR has also been providing students with school supplies and has distributed to date thousands of school kits and teacher kits, containing a variety of stationery materials. Further distributions are planned.