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Modi government helps revive the only school in Delhi for Afghan refugees, school was struggling for funds after Taliban takeover of Afghanistan

The school didn't have money to pay the teaching and non-teaching staffers, and later also could not afford the rent of the school premises at Jangpura.

The only Afghan school in Delhi, Syed Jamaluddin Afghan High School, was given a second life by the PM Modi-led government a year after the government in Afghanistan collapsed in August last year. The school for Afghan refugees which is located at Jangpura, Delhi, faced an acute shortage of funds due to the Covid pandemic and government collapse in Afghanistan until the Ministry of External Affairs provided financial assistance to the school and ensured that it operated as usual.

According to the reports, Syed Jamaluddin Afghan School was first set up at Lajpat Nagar in 1994 and then shifted in the mid-2000s. It enrolls pupils from classes 1-12 and employs 32 Afghan teachers. The school used to receive funds from the Afghanistan Ministry of Education through the embassy in Delhi. However, due to a combination of factors, the school has been facing a shortage of funds since 2020.

The school began facing problems with the onset of the Covid pandemic and it escalated after the fall of the Afghan government to the Taliban. The school didn’t have money to pay the teaching and non-teaching staffers, and later also could not afford the rent of the school premises at Jangpura.

“Problems had started even before the collapse of the previous regime in Afghanistan. Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, funds were irregular and we were facing several challenges”, Nazir Ahmad Yosufi, board secretary of the school was quoted as saying. He added that after the government collapsed in Afghanistan, the board members and the staffers became hopeless which forced them to give away the school building.

Reports mention that the school could not pay the salaries of the staff members for 10 months and some of the board members sold their assets to meet the basic expenses. It is then that the Ministry of External Affairs came to the rescue and asked the board members to find a new place for the school to resume the offline classes. It also committed to looking after the other sundry expenses like the rent, teachers pay, administrative expenses, etc.

Following support and funding from the Narendra Modi government, the school officials are currently engaged in chartering a new road plan. The Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP), which started the school in 1994, presently sponsors 257 students, the majority of whom are female. However, the number has significantly decreased from the previous 400. While 65 percent of the students are girls, the teaching staff comprises only women.

Yosufi cited the relocation of several refugee families to other nations as the reason why there are now fewer pupils admitted to the school. However, he added that from this year the school is seeing a boost in admissions. The school also has established several extra-curricular clubs to ensure that the children receive a well-rounded education. The school members also celebrated International Women’s Day at the school premises.

Navita Srikant, an international affairs expert who has worked closely with the school administration, stated that the administration is dedicated to the cause. “Mentoring and inspiring these children for creative activities beyond education which helps them express their emotions constructively has been a humbling experience,” Srikant was quoted.

The teachers of the school have also been introduced to a non-violent communication course to enhance the quality of teaching. “The centre’s efforts will become a landmark case study at UN inspiring other member states to make arrangements for education for Afghan Students, especially girls,” Srikant added.

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