Written by Abeera Ahmed; Source: Hashim Khan, Humqadam/Charsadda
Photos credits: Hashim Khan, Humqadam/Charsadda
Humqadam-SCRP is taking part in academic improvement by providing high quality, inclusive and safe school infrastructure that encourages learning among school going children in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Punjab provinces in Pakistan, particularly for girls. While large gains have been made to provide improved, safe and secure learning environment a special focus is on creating a supportive school environment for girls’ education. Dedicated new girls’ schools, separate toilet cubicles and classroom blocks are breaking down the environmental barriers to make education work for every girl.
Government Primary School (GPS) Jura Safaid Sung, Peshawar District, KP province, was adopted by Humqadam-SCRP in 2015 where one additional classroom block and two new toilet cubicles were constructed to supplement the existing two classrooms and toilets. These provisions were a much needed reprieve in the overcrowded school as it struggled to accommodate over 150 students from the surrounding villages. There were no separate classrooms for girls and boys, posing a cultural problem where gender segregation is valued.
Jura Safaid Sang, is a small village in Peshawar District, with population of more than 1500 and had no provisions for a girls’ school in the vicinity. The community only had one boys’ primary school, GPS Jura Safaid Sung. As a compromise, Haseena Bibi who is a studious 10-year old girl along with other young girls had to be accommodated in the crammed school premises along with the boys. For the most part, owing to overcrowding-compounded by the need for gender segregation- they had no choice but to take classes in the school ground or the veranda. Due to limited classrooms, the school was often shut down for girls during inhospitable weather.
Humqadam-SCRP sees schools as an equaliser across socio-economic and gender constraints. Girls are an important contributor in any society, and educating girls is an important investment. Educated girls find better-paid jobs, opportunities, and raise a more healthy family, which ultimately leads to a better, more prosperous society. Humqadam-SCRP strives to improve accessibility to education for girls by ensuring they have a safe and secure school environment. At GPS Jura Safaid Sung, post Humqadam-SCRP interventions, enrolment has risen by 25%.
In areas of KP where few schools exist, Humqadam-SCRP is constructing and rehabilitating schools for meaningful educational gains in hopes to encourage substantial increases in enrolment and total years of education for girls. So far, 119 new girls’ schools, which are inclusive and safe, have been completed with new classrooms and toilet cubicles in KP as of January 2018, making schools more accessible and girl child-friendly.