Abdul Wahed Bahra
Many Afghans are stranded as internally displaced persons in the province of Herat in western Afghanistan. A large proportion of the refugees are children. Our project school, the “Abdul Wahed Bahra” school, is located in Injil, a district in the province of Harat. The majority of the students are refugees. Together with our member Winuss, we are now working on improving the sometimes unacceptable learning conditions. We have already been able to supply the school with inventory and teaching materials. The next step is to start planning the construction of a new school building.
Hundreds of thousands of Afghans are on the run in their home country.
There have long been more internally displaced persons among the Afghan displaced persons than refugees seeking protection in other countries, where their care is usually better guaranteed by international aid organizations. According to the United Nations, the reason for the increase in refugee numbers is the ongoing and spreading conflicts in the country. In addition, there is malnutrition and the danger from explosive remnants of war and IEDs.
Herat, in the west of the country, is one of the most important destinations for internally displaced persons. It borders the provinces of Badghis and Ghor, which have been particularly hard hit by the drought that has lasted almost three years. Most of the internally displaced persons, more than half of whom are children according to the Herat Refugee Agency, have nothing more than what they are wearing with them when they arrive. But drought is not the only cause of flight. Terrorist groups are particularly active in the provinces of Farah, Badghis and Ghor and the inhabitants struggle daily with the fear of attacks by insurgents: the massacre in Ghalmin in the province of Ghor, in which around 30 civilians, including children, were executed in October 2016, is just one example of the serious security situation in these provinces.
In addition, there are also an increasing number of unexpected mass deportations of Afghan refugees from Iran via the Islam Qala border crossing to Herat. Around one million Afghans had to return to the war-torn country involuntarily in 2017. As Mazar-e Sharif and Herat are among the safest zones in Afghanistan, the two provinces are the main destinations for refugees. Although education is a fundamental human right (Art. 26 of the Declaration of Human Rights), access to education in such a situation cannot be taken for granted. The provincial governments do not have the necessary financial resources to construct school buildings for all schoolchildren in the entire region. As a result, lessons often take place outdoors, in tents, in inadequate rented rooms or even in ruins. The Abdul Wahed Bahra School in the district of Injil is one of the schools attended mainly by refugee children.
PROBLEM AND SOLUTION
The inadequate learning conditions are a huge problem at this school and prevent pupils from gaining an education. Thanks to the close contact with our member Winuss, who lives in Herat and coordinates the project locally, we were able to organize a smooth cooperation between the school management in Herat and the Visions team in Hamburg.
After Winuss had visited the school in winter and identified the urgent need, she and the principal drew up a list of requirements, which we used as a guide.
As a first step, we helped with the purchase of urgently needed inventory and teaching materials. These mainly included chairs, tables, blackboards and shelves. The handover of the new acquisitions took place in a festive atmosphere with food and drink to celebrate the Persian New Year (“Nouroz”).
But this school needs a new building much more urgently. We are currently working on a solution to create a humane and inspiring learning atmosphere for the children.