By A. Sami Malik
SINDH, Pakistan, 1 November 2011 – Noor Jehan, 10, is one of the 60 students enrolled in a Temporary Learning Centre (TLC) established by UNICEF in the Bukhaira bypass camp through its implementing partner, Strengthening Participatory Organisation (SPO).
|VIDEO: UNICEF reports on temporary learning centers that are giving fresh hope to children affected by the floods in Pakistan's Sindh Province. Watch in RealPlayer|
“One, two, three, four, we are learning how to count,” said Noor excitedly. “Education here is good – it is better than our village school.”
Her sentiments are shared by her teacher at the TLC, Ms. Shireen, who feels that children attending the camp school are keener to learn and participate in activities both academic and recreational.
“The learning and recreational material provided by UNICEF is engaging,” she said. “It is easy for me to teach with the help of this material as children get more involved.”
A quality education
Flood-affected families moved to the Bukhaira bypass camp after water levels rose in the low lying areas of Tando Allahyar, one of the districts worst hit by floods. The camp currently hosts 350 displaced families. Humanitarian organizations are providing shelter, food, safe drinking water and medicine.
Having lost their meager belongings in the flood, the only satisfaction for Noor’s parents is the fact that their daughter is receiving quality education at the camp school.
|© UNICEF Pakistan/2011/Sami|
|Noor Jehan reads from the black board at the Temporary Learning Centre established by UNICEF in Bukhaira bypass camp for the flood-affected families.|
“It is a good thing that she is studying here,” said her mother, Mitha Sumar. “We are poor people and have nothing. This school has been set up for children, which is good as they can now at least study in the camp.”
UNICEF and its implementing partners are in the process of setting up more TLCs for children in the flood zone. So far, 1,300 centres have been established, serving nearly 70,000 children. Their target is to establish at least 4,000 TLCs in the affected areas.
Apart from training teachers to work in these TLCs, UNICEF is also providing the centres with ‘School-in-a-Box’ kits, which contain enough learning material to manage a primary school for 80 students, as well as recreational kits, floor mats, black boards, stationary and other supplies.
Fawad Shah, UNICEF Emergency Education Officer, highlighted the necessity for children to receive a proper education despite their devastating circumstances. “This province has seen back-to-back emergencies, and children have already lost out a lot on their academic sessions, and we don’t want that to happen again,” he said. ”We are trying to ensure that education continues, and children have enough time to go to school.“
Pakistan flood crisis 2011