Feb. 14, 2008 —
Students at Oshay School, in the Shahidi Hasas District of Oruzgan province, Afghanistan, show off their new notebooks on the opening day of classes Feb. 10. (U.S. Army photo)
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (Feb. 12, 2008) — More than 100 Afghan children in the village of Oshay began their school year Feb. 10 with a visit by Afghan National Army commandos from the 201st Kandak and Coalition forces.
The soldiers showed their support for the school, teachers and students by providing notebooks, pens, pencils and other school supplies to the students. About 120 students arrived for the first day of classes at the Oshay School in the Shahidi Hasas District of Oruzgan province, Afghanistan.
The village, near the banks of the Sakar River, is home to dozens of families who farm the nearby fields to make a living and provide for their families.
Before classes began, soldiers handed out the red, black and green flags of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, which students happily waved above their heads. Soldiers also chatted with students and told them to listen to their teacher.
The headmaster of the school then addressed the assembled students and parents.
“You are the future of Afghanistan,” the headmaster said. “If you study hard in school, one of you could be the future president of Afghanistan!”
Hearing those encouraging words, the children cheered and waved their flags and notebooks.
“All of the children seemed extremely happy to be there and excited to learn,” explained a Coalition soldier.
The community is also supporting the opening of the Oshay School.
“A local shop keeper, who was previously a high school teacher in Kandahar, stopped by to offer his support for the school,” said a Coalition soldier. “With the dramatic increase of students at the school, the headmaster hired him on the spot.”
The government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan had been informing residents of the school opening by radio announcements. A coalition soldier explained that the announcements were obviously successful, since students and parents arrived from villages all over the Sakhar Rud Valley.
“The IROA and the Oruzgan provincial government hopes to open more schools in the area so students don’t have to walk so far to attend classes,” said Army Capt. Vanessa R. Bowman, coalition spokesperson. “The Ministry of Education is working to improve educational opportunities for all children throughout Afghanistan.”