Thousands of children are benefitting from an ambitious Islamic Relief Iraq project, which is improving access to quality secondary school education.
During the Iraq war, over 4,700 public schools were damaged or destroyed – increasing the challenges for an already strained education system. The project – which began last year – is working with five schools which have seen a considerable increase in drop-out rates over the past three years.
Four schools are participating in the capital, Baghdad, where students continue to be affected by armed conflict as well as influxes of displaced families. The scheme also targets a school for girls in Erbil, regional capital of Iraqi-Kurdistan – which faces strain as families that have fled their homes in Iraq and Syria seek safety in the area.
Creating safe learning environments
All students are receiving school uniforms and essential stationery for the duration of the three-year project. This summer, the schools will receive much-needed repairs and improvements, including the installation of new water systems and sanitation facilities as required – and providing safe playgrounds for the children. The project – which is joint-funded by ROTA – will also provide essential school furniture and equipment including computers, digital screens, and projectors.
Teacher training to motivate and inspire
The teaching skills of 150 teachers will be enhanced through specialist training throughout the project.
Delivered through workshops and training days, the training promotes modern methods that motivate and inspire students and will develop innovative teaching materials.
Skills for life through extra-curricular activities
Sports programmes will also be introduced at each school to further enthuse students. Community awareness sessions will promote the rights of girls to be educated, as well as tackling barriers such as child labour.
A programme of summer activities for students – which have already begun – are building leadership and personal development skills. Cultural festivals will promote Arabic language and softer-skills such as creative-writing, handwriting, and art. Children will also learn about the importance of looking after the environment and good hygiene practices.
When the project completes next year, over 2,150 children will have benefitted.