UNICEF-supported Temporary Learning Centers provide education to flood-affected children in Pakistan
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).
"Education here is good - it is better than our village school," says Noor
“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 organisations are providing shelter, food, safe drinking water and medicine.
Having lost their meager belongings in the flood, the only satisfaction for Noor Jehan’s parents is the fact that their daughter is receiving quality education at the camp school.
“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, 1300 centres have been established wherein nearly 70,000 children are receiving education. 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’, which contains learning material sufficient to manage a primary school for eighty students, 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 the 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.“