KANDAHAR AIR FIELD, Afghanistan - The Kandahar Airfield Bazaar School is a school inside of KAF that teaches Afghan children English and a variety of crafts, while also providing them a place to play sports.
The KAF Bazaar is held every Saturday, and the owners of the different shops sometimes bring their children to assist with sales. When the shops are being setup by the owners, the children come to the school and are taught lessons by a local Afghan teacher named Abdul Raziq.
Service members from the base volunteer to help Raziq and the school during the open hours. The volunteers bring with them activities for the children to do before class starts.
“What this is about is it’s us getting to know the children, us getting to interact with the children, teaching them things that we know, and them teaching us things that they know, like teaching us how to play soccer,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Ashley Zapata, NMCC 18. “I have two kids back home, and being around kids is an amazing feeling for me.”
At the beginning of each Saturday the Afghan children play a little soccer, make various crafts and the older kids learn to build. After the children are done playing they gather for two classes, one with the older kids and one with the younger kids.
In the older kids’ class Razqi teaches them about conversations in English, while the younger kids learn the basics of English.
“I think it an opportunity to give back, I mean because these kids see so much out there,” said Amanda Chan, J4 NATO Asset Tracker and Event Co-coordinator for the KAF Bazaar School. “It’s so good to have all of these servicemembers to come in and donate all of this stuff and help out this school.”
This school, like many across Afghanistan, is set up to benefit Afghan children. When children attend these schools, it shows the parents and the children coalition forces are here to help.
“For the people of Afghanistan this shows them hope,” said Zapata. “It shows them that we are here to do more, we are not here trying to take over their country, were here to help them and be there for them.”
And, that hope comes one lesson at a time each week at the KAF Bazaar School.