Monday, June 1, 2009

Our Second Day in Afghanistan

From email sent by Umaimah on May 24, 2009:

We drove to Jalalabad this morning – a 90 min drive that took us 4 hours b/c of accidents and road blockage, which it seems is very common on this road. We visited a government school where the kids were taking their exams under the tree b/c it was too hot in the classrooms. The school had 1800 children and just over 35 teachers. It was a boys school.

We then saw a private school – nursery to grade 2, which was co-ed, and full of energy and life. it was for the upper-middle class of Jalalabad. The school was established by a lawyer-turned-educationalist/entrepreneur from Pakistan. The school fees were over AFG 1000 per month.

We then visited WADAN’s community based schools, separate for girls and boys. The schools were run in a make-shift building that a local businessman had allowed WADAN to use for the time-being. The school was just a few throws away from Tora Bora.

On the way to Jalabad we saw coalition forces in sniper mode, pointing their guns to what seemed like a plain beautiful innocuous mountain. We were told that they might’ve gotten the news that there were Taliban in the mountains as this was known to be a troubled spot. After another 4+ hr drive back, with a new set of road blockages, we got back to our hotel in Kabul and then joined for a dinner hosted by WADAN at the WADAN office.

We met some great people there including Rachel Lehr, the founder of Rubia. WADAN’s MD Mr. Naseeb and Jean Kissell then introduced dreamfly to Afghanistan’s Minister of EDU who sat with the Minister for a very good conversation around the ministry’s priorities, most critical challenges, and areas that they need dreamfly’s support in. Mona made sure she asked some tough questions of the minister on behalf of dreamfly!

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