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Child Friendly Schools

In the districts far from Baku, in the south of the country, schools are often very poor, with buildings freezing in winter and even the most basic of equipment, such as sporting items, lacking. Parents and teachers, however, are just as committed to providing their children with a fine education.

Take for example Aslan Ibragimov, director of a school in the small city of Lenkaran not far from the Iranian border. He is a strong proponent of UNICEF’s child friendly programme, and recently established a Parent-Teacher Association (PTA).

``The PTA is a body to help school management; they work with us, and not against us,’’ said Mr. Ibragimov, director of Lenkaran State School No. 8, whose building is dilapidated and poorly heated in winter.

Promoting sport and physical education is another way Mr. Ibragimov is transforming his school into a friendlier place. The school was part of the International Inspiration programme, which stresses the positive impact of sport and physical education on child well-being.

``Previously, we didn’t even have balls to play with, and the children were often bubbling with unspent energy, and thus wild and difficult to deal with,’’ said Mr. Ibragimov. ``Now, we have proper sport equipment, and the children can let off steam in an organized and constructive manner. They are easier to deal with, friendlier to everyone and more cooperative; not to mention stronger, healthier, and happier.’’

The children themselves agreed, and shared their opinions of this simple, but highly effective programme, whose impact goes beyond physical prowess.

``The boys now see that we girls are able and strong, and so they respect us more,’’ said Nazrin Imanova, 10. ``Indeed, we are now stronger and more confident.’’



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