News: Partnership highlighted with ribbon cutting, dedication ceremony
Story by Capt. martha petersante
PRIGORODNOE VILLAGE, Kyrgyzstan - As preschool-aged children's laughter echoed in the air, representatives from the Transit Center at Manas, U.S. Air Forces Central, U.S. Embassy in Bishkek, U.S. Agency for International Development and the Kyrgyz Republic Ministry of Education, together in partnership with the Prigorodnoe Kindergarten teachers and principal, celebrated the school's renovation with a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony, Sept. 18.
The project, which is valued at more than $25,000, consisted of: the removal and replacement of 66 exterior windows with double-paned energy efficient windows; removal and replacement of exterior and interior doors; replacement of all linoleum flooring within the first-floor hallway; and the installation of a 100-liter hot water heater. The renovations were managed by the Transit Center's Theater Security Cooperation division and helped to improve the overall quality of life for the students.
"When we received the official notification the contract had been signed, it was the best day for us," said Klara Kerimbekovna, Prigorordnoe Kindergarten principal, during the ceremony's opening remarks. "We had [structural] problems with this facility and this assistance helps so much, especially for the children's [quality of life]."
She went on to also thank the volunteers who visit the school on a regular basis, "who continue to build upon the three-year partnership between the Transit Center and the school."
Members of the 22nd Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, who were on hand to help celebrate the completion of the project, volunteer their off-duty time to visit with the children, assist the children with their English language skills, and perform yard work in order to maintain a safe play area for the students as part of a continued effort to strengthen partnerships between the Transit Center and surrounding communities.
Lt. Gen. David Goldfein, AFCENT commander, attended the ceremony and was honored to see how projects, such as this one, help to forge and maintain a strong partnership between the U.S and Kyrgyz Republic.
"With the international music of children behind me, I am reminded of how we are more alike than different, especially with regard to our children - we all want the best for our children. This project exemplifies this and I can see, first-hand, the strong partnership between nations - a true partnership for life."
Expounding on the theme of partnership, the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek Acting Deputy Chief of Mission David McCormick said that the project not only will allow the students to study in an improved environment for years to come but has laid the foundation for a continued relationship with the Transit Center, U.S. government and the school.
The ceremony concluded with a short tour of the facility in which guests viewed the improvements and spoke with teachers and students.