CAMP TAJI, Iraq " Iraqi army and Multi-National Division " Baghdad Soldiers began an extreme makeover of a small community north of Baghdad Sunday.
In a continuing effort to make Iraq a better place to live, the Al Jwahiri High School in Saab al Bour held its grand opening ceremony and city officials announced future projects.
"We are here to help the people of this community with the help of the Americans and members of the community," said 1st Lt. Firas Abbas, 2nd Tank Brigade, 9th Iraqi Army Division. "The American side is very important because they make the people feel safe.
"Whether it's rebuilding something in the city or a surgeon on hand, we (Iraqis) see that they (MND-B Soldiers) are here to help," Abbas added. "When the kids and families feel safe and secure, then it makes learning much easier for the children."
The Al Jwahiri High School and the Taha Hussen Primary School, also in Saab al Bour, have undergone $790,000 of repairs to refurbish the schools" foundations and walls. In addition, Iraqi and MND-B Soldiers brought in a truckload of donated books, pens and paper.
"This school is making a difference in the community with our youth," said Hussain Ali, a math teacher at the school. "A proper education is essential to our students" future and the future of all of Iraq. They (Saab al Bour citizens) feel that with the cooperation between the Americans and the Iraqis, the people will feel more comfortable. That will show them the Americans and Iraqis are interested in making things good."
Not only has the school benefited from sweeping reconstruction efforts, but future plans for the city were announced to members of the Iraqi media.
"The Iraqi army brigade, with Coalition Forces, will be fixing problems in the city," said Iraqi army Maj. Jabar Moshurem, executive officer for the 1st Tank Battalion, 2nd Tank Bde., 9th IAD. "We have three projects with electrical power. We are fixing roads in the town, and we are building a medical clinic soon."
Currently, Saab al Bour residents have already benefited from $182,000 of electrical supplies, $790,000 of school repairs and $980,000 invested in water treatment and storage.
In the future, residents can expect work to continue. In May, two electrical projects costing a total of $2.95 million will begin. The first project will repair and expand the current 11-kilovolt line in Saab al Bour in order to provide residents with a more reliable power source. The second project, a 33-kilovolt line, will provide further protection and reliability to the city's electrical grid. Two additional water projects costing $2.6 million will be completed in October. Finally, an additional $488,000 will be used to improve the schools. The educational improvements should be completed by August.
"A few weeks ago, we organized a meeting with the sheiks from both factions (Sunni and Shia) of Saab al Bour to bring them together with the Iraqi army, the Iraqi police and the Coalition Forces leadership to get to know one another to establish relationships," said Maj. David Olson, public affairs officer, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. "This way in the future when problems exist, we could work together to work them out. The main purpose of the meeting was to begin building a city council so they can solve their own problems by working with each other."
This work, Saab al Bour getting extreme makeover from IA, locals and MND-B Soldiers, by SFC Brent Hunt, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.