Thursday, May 23, 2013 – Visiting schools with armed police escort/ Replacement of school principals

We had a very rewarding day today in the Sheberghan District in Northern Afghanistan.   It was great to see how well the school projects are coming along and the progress each school is making with the little we have given them.  The Director of Education for the province has made some significant changes to the schools.  One thing he did was to have each school principal write a test.  If they failed the test they were moved to a lower level school as teachers.  So some of our schools have new principals and the new ones were attracted to the new facilities. A better environment helps then focus on their teaching.

We visited Niswan school,  our first project. 1500 girls attend here in two shifts.  Remarkable improvements here with the new principal.

The school has a donation box. Every month students and teachers put money in as well as parents and community leaders.  The box then is opened by a committee and the funds are used for improvements for the school.

Donation box

image021

Science Lab is functioning well

image022

Computer  lab needs more reliable power and we are looking into it.

image023

We went to see our newest school that will be opened in a few days. We had our engineers and education ministry officials to inspect the building.  A nice garden has been planted.  The principal seem to give good leadership.

image024

Our major donors for this school

image025

This school is 5 KM outside of the city so the Education Director for the province will not let us go without a fully armed police escort.  We do not like the attention but the officials here will not let us go any other way.  There is a vehicle in front and back of ours.  They speed and we have to keep up in our little Toyota which is the scary part for me.

The guards are well organized. Once on site they take up their positions around the corners with two following us everywhere.  I saw two of them always behind buildings or at any entry points to the school watching where we are moving to next.

image026

We have put in about 10 water wells this year so we were able to see one today

image027

A fascinating visit today was to see a new Radio Station started by women – programming that brings women’s rights and issues to the forefront.. It was started by an English teacher and on the air are 10 of her students between the ages of 17-19, discussing and answering calls from the public.   In spite of threats  they seem confident of their purpose and passionate about preventing the abuse of women.

image028

We are so blessed with being able to stay with the Karim family.  Good vegetarian food is provided for us in abundance.

Farzeen goes to teach at 5 30 AM as that’s when the first shift of students come in.  She is back by 11 and makes us the meals.

image029

It was time to take everyone for an ice cream treat as it was 40C all day.  Ice cream is all handmade  – it is an art created from scratch.

image030