KABUL – Lt. Col. James Hally, commander of the 1st Battalion, 101st Field Artillery Regiment and the Deputy Minister of Education of Afghanistan, Mohammad Sediq Pattman stood alongside the village elders of Ali Khail to cut the ceremonial ribbon to officially open the school for students of the Deh Sabz region, June 16, 2010.
“We are very grateful and thankful for the U.S. for helping us build this school,” said Pattman. “This school wouldn’t have happened without the assistance of the United States Army. The people of the United States of America gave us this school and it’s our duty for us to take advantage of this gift,” said Pattman to the crowd of villagers.
The people of Ali Khail have been waiting on a hard structured school since 1993 when the school was initially going to be built. The schools construction was halted because of the strong Taliban influence in the village. The Taliban has since loosened its grip on the area, allowing the school to be built without interruption.
“This school will improve the lives of the children in this village and begin to change the future generations of this country,” said Pattman.
Prior to the construction of the school, the Afghan children were receiving their education inside tents without desks and chairs. Now that the temperature is heating up in Afghanistan, the school could not have come at a better time.
“Education is the answer to peace and prosperity for Afghanistan,” said Hally. “Every school or education facility that we can assist in constructing will have an immediate and enduring impact on the future of Afghanistan.”
Grades K-12 will be in session until November then the students will break until March. The school is broken into three gender segregated shifts, two of the shifts are for male students and one shift is for female students.
“Education is the foundation in building Afghanistan,” said Pattman. “Most of this country’s people are uneducated and ignorant. It is schools that will improve the lives and open the minds of the Afghan people.”