A Coalition servicemember chats with a young student at the Jan Qadam School, near Bagram Village, Parwan Province, Afghanistan, Jan. 6, while Haji Enr Yatullah, the school’s principal and a village elder, look on. Servicemembers brought donated winter clothes, shoes, toys and school supplies to the school to show their support for villagers.
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (Jan. 8, 2008) — It was a banner day Jan. 6 for children attending the Jan Qadam School near Bagram village.
Coalition troops assigned to Bagram Airfield stopped by the school, which is near the airfield, to visit with children, teachers and village elders, as well as deliver several boxes of school supplies and toys.
The eight-room schoolhouse caters to more than 1,000 students daily, in three shifts. The students range in age from 5 to 15 years old.
Fifteen servicemembers entered the village carrying boxes of supplies for the children.
Once they arrived at the school, village elders distributed the items to the children, boys in one classroom and girls in another. The children laughed and smiled as they received their gifts, which included notebooks, pencils, crayons and toys. Some students received new shoes and personal hygiene items.
Haji Enr Yatullah, the school’s principal and a village elder, said being good neighbors is important for the well-being of the village.
“You not only help me, but you help all the villages around here,” Yatullah said.
One Coalition servicemember in charge of the distribution effort explained that building good relationships with our closest neighbors helps ensure the safety of the village. “I view this area outside the base as my responsibility,” he said.
Coalition servicemembers do what they can to help the villagers. It is their way of building rapport with the citizens of Afghanistan, letting the villagers know that they care about their safety and security as much as the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan does.
In addition to delivering school supplies and other goods, Coalition forces servicemembers met with village elders to see what other types of assistance they could provide. Yatullah, and the other village elders, would like to see other projects from their Coalition force partners.
“We want to get furniture for the teachers,” said one Coalition servicemember. “The students have desks but the teachers are standing the entire day.”
“Projects like these help connect Coalition forces servicemembers with the community in which we serve,” the servicemember said.