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Australian High Commissioner Inaugurates 20 UNICEF Constructed Schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Bherkund, District Mansehra, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, June 8, 2011: The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has held an inauguration ceremony for 20 new primary schools constructed in the earthquake-affected districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

UNICEF has completed 160 of the planned 214 schools in the province, benefiting nearly 20,000 students. The remaining 54 schools are at various stages of construction and will be completed by the end of the current year.

Through restoration of educational activities, UNICEF has managed to re-enrol more than 428,000 primary age children, including 186,276 girls. Of these children, 36,000 had never attended school prior to the earthquake. 

Chaired by the Australian High Commissioner, H.E Timothy Spencer George, the inauguration ceremony for all 20 newly constructed schools was held today at the Government Girls Primary School Bherkund, district Mansehra. Director General Provincial Earthquake Reconstruction Authority (PERRA), Kifayatullah Khan, Representative of the Education Department KP, Omar Khan Kundi, UNICEF Representative, Dan Rohrmann, students, teachers and parents were present on the occasion.

Speaking at the inauguration, the Australian High Commissioner highlighted the importance of ongoing school rehabilitation in earthquake affected areas.

“Education is an investment in the future of individuals, communities, and the nation. Australia is proud to be supporting UNICEF’s work, in partnership with the Government of Pakistan, to reconstruct 145 schools by the end of 2011, therefore providing thousands of children a safe space in which to continue – or in some cases commence – their education,” Mr George said.

Completed at a total cost of PKR 157,638,478.00 (approximately US$1.9 million) and resulting in the enrolment of nearly 2400 students, these 20 new schools have been constructed by UNICEF with funding from the Australian Government’s overseas aid program (AusAID).

This funding is part of broader package of support provided to UNICEF for school reconstruction programs following the 2005 earthquake from a group of donors including the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands, the Canadian International Development Agency and the European Union.

Speaking at the event, UNICEF Representative, Dan Rohrmann said,  “Restoration of better than before education facilities in areas that were severely affected by the earthquake of 2005 is the result of a collaborative effort led by the Government of Pakistan, ERRA, PERRA, Provincial Education Departments and supported by the generosity of donors, consistent hard work of our implementing partners, active involvement of communities and the quest to impart and acquire knowledge by the teachers and students.” 

Under the UN Delivering as One Programme, UNICEF has been collaborating with the Government of Pakistan to support the ‘Build Back Better’ programme whereby earthquake resistant permanent school structures and basic health units are being constructed at various locations in the earthquake-affected areas. UNICEF is committed to building a total of 410 permanent schools in the earthquake-affected areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

 

 

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