Kurdish Regional Government leaders and Coalition forces inaugurated the first, permanent educational facility Feb. 12 in the mountainous region of Kani Mayor Village, Iraq.
The new school supports growing educational needs and serves as a platform for the future economic stability of the Kani Mayor Village and surrounding communities of Panjwin, Iraq.
â€œWhen decent schools are not available for their children, parents have traditionally packed up and moved from their villages to the city. After awhile, due to the exodus of people, the villageâ€™s economy begins to suffer,â€ said the tribal leader.
â€œBy putting brick on brick, it is proof you are not only protecting our people from terrorists, but also caring for our childrenâ€™s educational future,â€ said the regional education director. â€œThank you for giving the children a place to study and have a future.â€
The modern schoolhouse is fully equipped with five roomy classrooms, two bathrooms, new desks, textbooks and overhead lighting. Additionally, in an effort to attract and retain the most qualified educators, a separate building was constructed to serve as living quarters for the instructors.
Village children expressed sincere appreciation for the new facility to KRG leaders and were ecstatic to leave behind their temporary schoolhouse, which was a loaned-out chicken coop from one of the local farmers.
â€œItâ€™s nice to finally be rid of that old school and not have to share (my new school) with chickens,â€ said a 13-year-old girl, who is excited to get back to school and continue her Arabic lessons.
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The Bakiryah School celebrated its reopening Jan. 4 in the Mansour District.
Dr. Nahad Abbas Shihab al-Juburi, Deputy Minister of Education for the Karkh district performed the ceremonial ribbon cutting for the event, which was also attended by Brig. Gen. Ghassan, commander, 54th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, as well as the commander of the 4th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, Lt. Col. Monty Willoughby and the deputy commanding officer of the 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Lt. Col. Christopher Beckert.
â€œThe school was overcrowded and through a local contractor we were able to build a new school building and house all of the students,â€ said Willoughby. â€œIt will be a tremendous benefit for the students and it will increase their ability to learn.â€
The atmosphere at the event was very joyous for the children as they gathered in the renovated courtyard before the ceremony to sing and listen as their classmates read poetry to the distinguished guests of the event.
â€œThe most important thing that you saw today was real emotion,â€ said Beckert. â€œToday you saw real excitement on behalf of a community who takes the education of their children very seriously.â€
The troopers of the 4th Sqdn., 10th Cav. Regt., who partner with the 54th Brigade to provide security for the Mansour district, have seen a marked improvement to the area during their time in northwest Baghdad.
â€œWeâ€™ve done a couple of different things here in accordance with the belladiyah,â€ said Willoughby. â€œWeâ€™ve helped put in solar street lights and weâ€™ve done some revitalization of the market area through micro grants. Then we looked at the school and decided to help out to provide a little bit of community pride and gain some community support.â€
Throughout the event the support of the community was evident not only in the large turnout but also in the festive mood created by the reopening.
After the ribbon cutting, the Iraqi leaders toured the school to get a better look at the renovations. Once the tour was complete a traditional Iraqi meal was served to cap off the event.
â€œThe improved school in Bakiryah is very important because it breathes life back into the community,â€ said Beckert. â€œIt also demonstrates the will of the Iraqi Army and the local community leaders to work together for a better Iraq.â€