The education of girls in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan has been given a major boost with the recent opening of the Malalai Girls’ School in Tarin Kot.
The 21-classroom school has three laboratories and took 15 months to build at a cost of US$1.6 million and has facilities for up to 700 primary and secondary students.
Acting Commander of Australia’s military contribution to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan Air Commodore John Oddie said 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,” Air Commodore Oddie said.
In a further boost to the community, most of the construction work was undertaken by Afghan contractors using local labour, with direction from ADF engineers. The construction of the school was a partnership of the Uruzgan Provincial Government and the Provincial Reconstruction Team — Uruzgan (PRT‑U).
The PRT‑U is led by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and includes personnel from the ADF and AusAID.
Thanks to the support of several ISAF partners, the school has also been provided with furniture, bookshelves, laboratory benches and sports equipment.
“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,” Air Commodore Oddie said.
“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.”
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