Among Afghan refugees in Pakistan, the majority are children, youths and young adults up to the age of 24. An estimated 6.5 million Pakistani children and 0.5 million Afghan refugee children are out of school due to lack of awareness, financial necessities and socio-cultural barriers. While those who are in schools are facing major problem of inadequate school infrastructure due to lack of classrooms, furniture, water supply and proper sanitation and overcrowded classes, especially in primary schools. The existing facilities are already insufficient for the host community furthermore presence of afghan children has increased the competition for the available limited education resources. Thus the scarcity of well-equipped schools in all districts of KP province has also reduced the social cohesion between both groups.
In August 2014, UNHCR-RAHA joined hands with FRD for the “Restoration of Social Services and Community Infrastructure” in District Haripur to support both afghan and host community in gaining access to an improved learning environment as well as for improved social cohesion. In this regard, FRD started rehabilitation of Government Primary School Chak Mohri, Government English Medium Primary School Baldhyr, and Government Primary School Alhattar in district Haripur. Rehabilitation work includes repair of existing infrastructure, construction and rehabilitation of classrooms, Provision of furniture, Repair/rehabilitation of wash rooms, construction of walkways, Provision of water facility and installation of pressure pumps. Where in addition to addressing the need of infrastructure rehabilitation, FRD revitalized the PTCs in these schools and provided capacity building training to the PTCs. FRD also carried out hygiene training for children, community awareness sessions on the importance of education and inclusion of Afghan refugees.
Smiling faces of the students in these schools tell the success story of conducive learning environment, and the improved teaching method of the teachers which is more child friendly also tells the story of facilitated learning in these schools a success story of the capacity building of the PTCs and initiating the self-help basis mechanism of PTC in GPS Baldhyr, the PTC not only increased the enrolment in the school but also enrolled 3 street children who used to collect recyclable items from garbage and sell them to the middle men. Now the PTC is paying PKR 30 per day to the parents of the children who were involved in scavenging and now are studying in the school.
Similarly the PTCs in Chak Mohri, Baldhyr and Alhattar have been trained on the operations and Maintenance aspects, indigenous fund raising and school management along with the teachers of the schools.