Pictured Above: The students have been coming to Project J Secondary School every day. They told the engineer that the work is going too slowly—they want to be able to take their final exams in the new school! They asked that the construction company hire more workers.
An eighth school is nearing completion in Afghanistan through A Better World Canada’s 100 Classrooms project.
Azalea Lehndorff, project founder, said the only things left to be done on Project J, the 8th school being built, are paint and moving in furniture. Project J is located in Juwzjan in the Sheperghan district in Afghanistan and will serve students in grades 1 through 12.
“Project J is one example where they were using tents and a rented building [for the school] which is completely inadequate for the number of students that they have,” said Lehndorff.
One of the focuses for the 100 Classrooms project has been to provide safe environments for students both male and female, including safe and private bathrooms.
“Lots of parents [in Afghanistan] support education for their daughters but they feel uncomfortable with the safety of the facilities that exist so it’s a matter of providing that safe place with latrine washrooms.”
Lehndorff said the need for education in Afghanistan is incredibly high with more than half of the population being under the age of 18. She added that during the time that the Taliban was in charge, there wasn’t opportunity for girls to go to school because they simply weren’t allowed.
“Those restrictions have been lifted and it’s amazing how much community support there is for parents being willing and wanting their daughters to have a safe place to go to school. That’s where we come in.”
The 100 Classrooms project is nearing its goal and hopes to see the final two schools built before the end of 2018. Lehndorff added that each school comes in at a cost of approximately $130,000.
Currently, the 9th school is about 75% funded which will bring the project to a total of 91 classrooms. “We are really looking to finish that one off and fund one more school and that’ll bring us to 100 classrooms.”
The project began in 2010 when Lehndorff said she got the idea and learned about the need in Afghanistan. “I wanted to help in some way to give back the privilege that I’ve had to learn.”
“I started the project because education had been a challenging part of my life and I’ve been really lucky to have the chance to learn and now I’m just in my last year of medical school.”
School number 9, Khatoon Qala, will serve students in grades 1 through 9 at the time of its opening, but Lehndorff said each school varies based on need. The final two schools are in more rural areas where the need is exceptionally high and will serve over 750 students.
Lehndorff said if people wish to donate they can do so both online and by mail.
“The support that we’ve had, I was looking at the statistics; we’ve had over 500 donors for this project. That’s many small donations and some large as well and almost all are from central Alberta and that’s how this has all been possible and we just appreciate the support.”