The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) provided the school with furniture, bookshelves, laboratory benches and sports equipment.
John Oddie is Acting Commander of Australia’s military contribution to ISAF in Afghanistan, and said that supporting the Afghan Government’s efforts to improve literacy was a major objective of the Australian Government’s mission in Afghanistan.
“This is an exciting development for the local community. For the first time, hundreds of girls in Tarin Kot will have access to quality education, which will open up a new world of opportunity,” Oddie said.
“With less than 1 per cent of Afghan women in Uruzgan being able to read and write, it’s essential for the future of this country that we help provide vital services like education for children.”
“I’m pleased that Australia has played a prominent role in the school’s development, and hope the benefits to girls, their local community and country at large will be felt for generations to come.”
The school has facilities for up to 700 students, including 21 classrooms and three laboratories.
Pressures from girls’ parents to leave school to marry at a young age, as is the ‘norm’ in Afghanistan, are being tackled by the introduction of adult education programs.
Tajweer Kakar, a 62-year-old Afghan-born Australian citizen, works for the provincial education minister and said “As the mothers and fathers are uneducated, we’re planning monthly parent meetings to show them the importance of education and how their girls are improving.”
Uruzgan is in the south of Afghanistan and has been characterised as isolated, under-privileged and still at risk of Taliban insurgency.
However, the ambition of the school girls show that there is hope for a bright future, with one of the students wanting to become a doctor, “because there’s a lack of female doctors in Afghanistan,” she said.