Pakistan: Supporting Education for Afghan Refugees and Internally Displaced People in Pakistan

Currently there are approximately 600,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) who fled from areas of conflict and 1,700,000 Afghan refugees living in Pakistan. Many of them are being forced to live in the harsh environment of refugee camps with underdeveloped infrastructure in the northwestern region and its surrounding areas. Since 2011, AAR Japan has been striving to improve the living environment of such IDPs, Afghan refugees, and also the host community residents in the Nowshera District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.
Providing an Environment Conducive to Children’s Learning

January 24th, 2011 – Even in the harsh, cold winter, the children were sitting outside on the floor to study. (Hamza Rashaka 3 Primary School)

In the Nowshera District, the situation of the lack of classrooms for the number of students remains serious for many schools. According to research conducted by AAR Japan, there was a school in which 80 children were studying in a classroom designed for 40 to 50 children. Another school provided only two classrooms for a total of 241 students. As a result, even in the winter there are children who have to attend class outside sitting on the floor with no desks or chairs. Furthermore, many schools had broken toilets and washing basins and did not have good sanitary conditions. To improve this situation, AAR Japan has reconstructed school buildings for six governmental primary schools in the Nowshera District and provided desks and chairs to 15 schools, including the aforementioned six schools.
At Sikandar Abad Primary School, one of the schools AAR Japan has supported, teacher Mr. Shahid Qamar (male, age 37) told us, “Thanks to the new classroom, we do not have to teach outside anymore. There is also a clean toilet. The school didn’t have the budget to reconstruct the building and we didn’t know what to do, but AAR Japan supported us. Thank you so much.” Since there still are many schools in need of aid, AAR Japan plans to continue the reconstruction of schools.

February 10th, 2012 – The children sit on the new desks and chairs provided by AAR Japan. The expressions on their faces look lively. On the left is Nobuaki SAWAI of AAR Japan. (Safdar Khan Korona Primary School)

February 10th, 2012 – When reconstructing schools, AAR Japan makes the building accessible for children with disabilities so that they can come and learn as well. (Safdar Khan Korona Primary School)
Supporting Hygiene Education and Moral Education

Sanitary conditions are physically improved by installing toilets and washing basins when reconstructing school buildings, but it is also important that the children who use these facilities gain knowledge about hygiene. In response, AAR Japan launched a hygiene education project in April to educate teachers, students, and their parents on basic hygiene procedures such as how to properly wash their hands. According to research conducted by AAR Japan on children’s attitudes toward hygiene, most of the children had experienced diarrhea in the past but did not know the cause. For this reason, AAR Japan will continue its efforts to explain clearly about personal hygiene, starting from basic information such as that unsanitary conditions may lead to sickness, and spread knowledge on the topic of hygiene.
In addition, voices have risen from local teachers in the Nowshera District that, where public safety is not as high, children should receive sufficient moral education. In response, AAR Japan plans to install libraries and provide sports equipment to 13 governmental primary schools in the Nowshera District and 4 schools inside an Afghan refugee camp. We will support the teachers’ hopes that the children, who will be their country’s future, learn about different worlds through books and sports and refine their sensibility.

May 3rd, 2012 – Tomoko TOKUDA (far right) of AAR Japan asks the children how they should wash their hands and use the toilet.

For the Children’s Future
On May 3rd, Tamayo HARAGUCHI of AAR Japan’s Pakistan Office visited Naseer Abad Korona Primary School. When she arrived at the school, the first and second graders, along with the kindergarteners, were in the middle of class, huddled together in front of the school building. When the children were asked what they want to become in the future, the most common answer was a primary school teacher, followed by a doctor. The reasons were because these jobs are very important jobs that provide knowledge and help people. AAR Japan will continue providing support so that the children will grow up in good health, both physically and mentally, and pursue their dreams. We deeply appreciate your continuous support.

May 3rd, 2012 – “What do you want to become in the future?” “A teacher!” “A doctor!” (Naseer Abad Korona Primary School)

* This project has been made possible thanks to a grant provided by Japan Platform in addition to generous individual donations.

AAR Japan Pakistan Office: Nobuaki SAWAI
Has been working in AAR’s Pakistan office since 2011. After working in overseas sales at a private corporation for 20 years, joined AAR Japan to pursue his interest in international cooperation, which he had held since childhood.