Estonia is supporting ten schools in Afghanistan with computers, study supplies and other things necessary for schoolwork. The Foreign Ministry allocated from its development co-operation budget 15 000 kroons (EUR 960) for each school in Afghanistan that has a twin school in Estonia, head of the Jaan Tõnisson Institute’s Global Education Centre Johanna Helin said. “Most schools wanted to use the funds to procure computers, but they also need study supplies for geometry lessons, and one school will get a well with Estonian aid.” Helin said the first supply consignment was handed over to the Aschiana Parwan school in Charikar, north of the capital Kabul.
“It’s a small school for girls where 125 girls orphaned in war or from very poor families are studying. Because of their circumstances they’ve had to work and miss school and are not accepted by regular schools any more,” the co-ordinator of the Estonian-Afghan twin school project, Maari Ross, said. In her words, the school helps girls catch up with regular school students by an express curriculum after which they have the opportunity to return to ordinary school.
The school received a computer and a sewing machine with Estonian support. “The sewing machine is especially important to this school because unlike ordinary school, students there also learn sewing and the hairdressing and beautician trades which are the main occupations for Afghan women to earn a living,” Ross said. Students are looking forward to an Internet connection to get in touch with students at the twin school, the Tallinn Technical Secondary School, via Skype, she added. The Tallinn students sent the Afghan girls pictures of Estonia, letters, and bags they made themselves. “It’s a very poor school even by Afghan standards. It lacks not only computers, but desks and chairs – students sit on the floor. We’re trying to find extra funds for the school to get desks, chairs and school uniforms,” Ross said.
The Jaan Tõnisson Institute launched in March 2009 a three-year project in Estonia aimed at establishing contacts between Estonian and Afghan schools and making Afghanistan known in this country. The project is financed by the European Commission and the Foreign Ministry from its humanitarian aid and development co-operation budget.
Source: Estonian Review
Filed under: Foreign Affairs