Islamic Relief continues to deliver a life-changing education project in Baghdad and Erbil, despite deteriorating security in conflict-torn Iraq.

Our comprehensive project to improve secondary education in Iraq is enabling more than 2,100 students, including displaced children and Syrian refugees, to achieve at school.

The new classroom built by Islamic Relief at Al Zharaa school, Erbil.

The new classroom built by Islamic Relief at Al Zharaa school, Erbil.

Working with the Ministry of Education, we have now improved five schools in Baghdad and Erbil. The schools – two for boys and three for girls – were constructed in the 60s and 70s and have seen little modernisation over the decades.

Grass play areas have been planted and school yards laid, providing students with safe outdoor space for play and sports. Electrical wiring has been renewed and roofs repaired. Schools have been painted and classrooms furnished.

Student and teacher toilets have been refurbished, and we have even extended some of the schools to meet the needs of their growing student population, by constructing a new classroom and toilet facilities, for example.

Whilst some of the refurbished school buildings provided emergency shelter for families displaced by conflict, they are now used by children as modern, fit-for-purpose learning environments. Another school has since requested our support in improving their facilities.

Click on an image below to open a photo gallery highlighting some examples of work carried out:

Empowering teachers and students

In addition, the project – which is part-funded by ROTA – is delivering specialist teacher training. So far, each school has benefitted from five-days of training, covering IT literacy and showing them how to use the smart boards provided by the project. Up-to-date teaching methods were also promoted, to help teachers unlock the full potential of their students.

Teachers and school leadership staff learn how to use a smart board.

Teachers and school leadership staff learn how to use a smart board.

“The course [helped us] keep abreast of developments in teaching methods and to develop our competence to deliver information for students in a fun and useful style,” said Izhar, an English Teacher in Al Sayab School.

Scores of students have also taken part in our five-day summer school. Held last year, it enabled children to improve their personal and leadership skills, explore creativity and team-work, and develop their hobbies and projects.

“In the past, it was hard for me to remember some of my lessons,” said Ali Zead, a student at Al Dakhilyah High School. “After participating in these training sessions, I can read and remember faster and better. The training has also helped me to determine my goals and increase my confidence.”

Summer school participants from Al Sayab and Al Mamoon schools, Baghdad.

Summer school participants from Al Sayab and Al Mamoon schools, Baghdad.

As well as school uniforms and stationery, a host of extra-curricular programmes such as sports and cultural activities are to be provided through the project. We are also working with communities to promote girls education, tackle child labour and boost hygiene and environmental protection.

The project has also enabled students to celebrate the Arabic language through festivals, poetry and short-story competitions – and training courses for teachers.

Click on an image below to view more photos of project activities:

Islamic Relief has been working in Iraq since 1996. As well as life-changing development projects, we are providing vital humanitarian aid in Iraq, which currently faces its worst crisis since 2006.