BAGHDAD, Iraq — Children are the future of any country and Iraq is no exception.
Thanks to funding from a Commanders' Emergency Relief Program, hundreds of girls in the Tarmiyah area, south of Baghdad, now have a spacious and modern new school.
Soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Regiment, were able to see firsthand the fruits of cooperation with local Iraqi leaders as the new secondary school in Tarmiyah was dedicated, here, Oct. 20.
U.S. Soldiers took the reins of the $225,000 school project after the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team redeployed, to make sure all contracted work was completed. Lt. Col. Scott Jackson, the regiment's commander, toured the school with about two dozen guests, mostly local civic and tribal leaders.
According to Jackson, the two-story building, with shiny white paint and purple trim, is a vast improvement over previous school facilities.
The new all girls school replaces several older facilities that were so crowded that teachers were forced to hold class in split shifts. The new school has more classrooms, indoor bathrooms, inner courtyard and is surrounded by an outer wall for security.
"It will serve up to 300 more students," said Jackson. "It's a great feeling. It's a good use of resources."
As the guests sipped tea and ate chocolates, Jackson made remarks about the importance of investing in children for Iraq's future. Jackson said the new school, built by local contractors and laborers, would help maintain security and stability in the Tarmiyah area.
"Education is a vital part of defeating an insurgency," Jackson said. "An educated youth helps stabilize the population; it helps in many ways."
As a way to celebrate the new school's opening, American Soldiers distributed backpacks to the students in each classroom.
"It's a great looking school and it's cool to give out school supplies to help them kick off a new school," said 1st Lt. Jeffery Wollenman, a fire support officer from Irving, Texas. "Before this school, there was not a female secondary school, so it's kind of a big deal."
The new school in Tarmiyah is just a building made of brick and mortar, but as an education facility, it will help build Iraq's future with the country's most precious asset — its children.
This work, Cav Soldiers help open new school in Tarmiyah, by SGT Jon Soles, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.