Initially these refugees were settled within the camps that were established to accommodate the refugee population, but with the passage of time they spread all over the country to pursue better livelihood opportunities. The huge settlement of refugee population within the host community resulted in increased stress on the local scares resources while living within the host community these families had to rely on the public infrastructure and basic facilities. This created a sense of insecurity and conflicts between both in the host and the refugee community as both felt threatened by other in terms of competition in the livelihood opportunities and additional pressure on the natural resources and basic infrastructure.
To improve the situation FRD with support of UHNCR-RAHA implemented the project named Improvement of Education Facilities for Afghan Refugees and Host Communities in Punjab. The main objective of the project in line with the overall objective of RAHA initiative was to promote social cohesion, improved harmony and peace building through infrastructural improvement in the public sector with the main focus on the educational infrastructure at the refugee hosting areas of district Rawalpindi & Lahore.
Through the interventions additional class rooms, sanitation facilities in the form of toilets with soakage pit and septic tank, boundary walls and drain has been constructed along with repair work at selected schools. The repair work included repair of 5 class rooms along with doors, windows, electrification, floor, walls and roof, one computer lab and two toilets in the 6 identified schools. Furniture was also provided in selected schools In addition to infrastructure work, FRD formed/revitalized parents teachers committee and also O&M committees for sustainability of the project. Furthermore, separate training sessions were held to build the capacity of the parent teacher committees /SMCs for the effective management of the school.
All these activities significantly contributed towards not only improving the govt. school’s capacity but also improving the overall attitudes in the society regarding the refugee population and thus improving and promoting Peaceful coexistence. The intervention also resulted in increased in enrolment in these schools.