News: New Year to Bring Enlightenment to Herat
Story by Tech. Sgt. Kevin Wallace
HERAT, Afghanistan – A new school is scheduled to open in Herat City, Herat province, on the Afghan New Year 2011.
Currently, 1,500 children are enrolled to start classes at Sufiabad School March 21, making Herat City home to the 180th modern public school in the district.
“I know that now I have the opportunity to become a doctor, dentist or anything I set my mind to” said 8-year-old Mayedeh Pejman, trying to muster the conversation in English.
Her father is a Herat City journalist, and said he is proud to be sending his daughter to school, stating, “Years ago, girls didn’t have these opportunities.”
The city governor, Dr. Daoud Saba, was present at Sufiabad’s inauguration March 17, and lauded the U.S.-funded and Italian Provincial Reconstruction Team-built school as progress in the district.
“For [more than] 30 years, our country has been living in a dark age. I define darkness as illiteracy and living in a period where females have no rights,” said Saba. “Education is the main component of a modern country so we must educate ourselves, educate our children, and keep moving toward the light.”
Italian army Col. Antonino Inturri, Herat PRT commander, U.S. Army Maj. Garrett Jones, Camp Stone Commander’s Emergency Response Program manager, and a representative of U.S. Army Col. Ricardo Ramirez, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan Detachment West commander, were presented certificates at the inauguration for their team’s work on the project.
Inturri addressed the audience. “This new school is proof that this is a vibrant and living community,” he said. “I wish the rest of Afghanistan can develop in a manner similar to what we see here.”
Next, Jones spoke to the present children. “Education is something you will always have. No one can ever take your education from you,” he said. “Take advantage of this opportunity.”
Many plan to do that very thing.
“I’m really happy we have this new school,” said 8-year-old Khojasta Satiq, who’s never attended school before.
Satiq is one of the 500 enrolled females, and about 1,000 males are set to attend Sufiabad, which will teach children, between age 7-18, subjects like: Dari, math, history, geography, religion, English, Arabic, physics and physical education.
Progress has even touched the lives of youngsters like Satiq, who said she feels she can impact her people’s future.
“I want to be a doctor when I grow up,” said Satiq. “I want to help women in Herat City.”