Written by Abeera Ahmed
Photo credits: Syed Abdullah Hameed, Islamabad; Rashid Ali, Faisalabad/Humqadam
Contaminated drinking water at Government Girls High School (GGHS) 225-RB, District Faisalabad, Punjab province, exposed girls to hazardous conditions.
With student: classroom ratio bordering at 60:1, the overcrowded school was adopted by Humqadam-SCRP. Three new classrooms and toilets were provisioned to address the issues which were completed in June, 2017.
After Humqadam-SCRP support, Mr. Umar Hayat, a generous community member, realised the need of the hour and donated a dedicated water filtration plant to the school. The students now have access to clean water and a holistic educational environment.
Schools are at the centre of any community, and a safe haven for curious young minds. Believing in these values, Humqadam-SCRP sees community engagement as vital for inclusive, equitable and improved learning environment. Humqadam-assisted Community Committees for School Infrastructure (CCSI) are active across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Punjab provinces, which are not just overseeing construction progress at schools, but their deep interest in community schools is already coming to fruition, as in the case of GGHS 225 RB.
For more than 700 young girls at GGHS 225 RB, coming to school every day was a harrowing experience. Deprived of basic drinking water, more of than not, the students at the school would fall sick due to contaminated water.
Ms. Maimoona Yasmeen, Head Teacher at GGHS 225 RB, recalled, “Due to lack of clean drinking water and no budget for the provision of clean drinking water, the students frequently became ill, affecting attendance rates and academic results.”
Seeing the plight of the school, a community member, Umar Hayat, stepped up to the task. Pooling his own money, Umar Hayat ensured that the water filtration plant was installed within two days. The much welcome change has brought together the community with a renewed spirit for cultivating girls’ education. At the outset, clean drinking water has provided a safe and healthy environment. In the longer run, the filtration plan has brought improved enrolment and retention rate.
“On one of our CCSI visits to the school, we realised that the school is an extension of the community and the students are our children, after all. I’m happy that the students now look forward to school every day,” said Umar Hayat.
With 427 schools completed in KP and Punjab as of August 2017, CCSIs continue to play an important role in building, maintaining and sustaining quality community schools.