By Spc. David Hodge
1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
FORWARD OPERATING BASE FALCON, Iraq – An all-girls high school held an event to celebrate the grand opening of several sports facilities and a new generator, July 16, in the Rashid District of southern Baghdad.
The Al-Manhel High School for Girls christened the additions with an exhibition volleyball game and luncheon in the Shurta community of northwest Rashid.
"I am very happy today," said Maida Ismail Majwed, the principal of the school. "This event means a lot for the girls, and I believe it made them happy. Also, this is an important event for all the women of Iraq."
The renovation effort stemmed from a partnership with the Rashid District Council, the Ministry of Education, and coalition forces.
Capt. Thao Reed, the commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad, worked closely with both parties to facilitate the improvements to the school.
Reed encouraged the Karkh II Sports Director of the Education District, Ahmed Abdullah, to establish a girls' sports program across Rashid, and advised the school board to renovate the school.
The ceremony showcased new additions to the school. The additions are an indoor volleyball court, an outdoor basketball and volleyball court, and a generator to supply the school with electricity.
"I am thankful for everything and will keep my experiences here today with me for the rest of my life," said Alia Ahmed, a student at the school and avid athlete.
Ahmed participated in the exhibition volleyball game and said she enjoys the chance to have fun and represent her country by participating in sports.
"I hope the sports stay in operation here and continue to develop for all female sports," Ahmed said.
"Each female has their own interests but sports are something that everybody likes," she added.
Ahmed, whose mother is a sports teacher, likes to play sports, but says Iraqi traditions shun against female sports.
"I hope we are someday equal to women from other cultures," Majwed stated. "We have a lot of ambition. We just haven't had a chance to show our abilities."
"I hope this is the first step towards a glorious future," she added.
This work, Sports director cuts ribbons for girls high school facilities, by SGT David Hodge, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.