UNESCO opens third school for IDPs in Iraq since beginning of year

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Basrah, 29 April 2015 – UNESCO and its partners celebrated today with students and teachers the opening of the newly constructed Migrant Birds Intermediate School for internally displaced persons at Al-Souq Al Asry Camp in Basrah, Iraq.
The opening of the school in Al Souq Al Asry camp shortly follows the opening of the Baharka Secondary School and the Dawodiyah Secondary School and is another milestone in UNESCO’s efforts to provide quality education to children and adolescents of IDP communities and to ensure equal opportunities to education for both girls and boys.

The opening ceremony was held in the presence of government and education officials from Basrah. Also attended by students, parents and teachers along with members of local NGOs and the international community, the event featured a school tour and several student activities including dance and song performances and poetry readings.

Speaking to the students UNESCO Project Officer Zulfiqar Ali said, “Education brings peace and normalcy to the lives of IDPs, and the opening of the Migrant Birds school will provide IDPs with a renewed sense of hope for the future.”

Also speaking at the opening ceremony, Head of the Human Rights Committee of the Provincial Council of Basrah, Ektifaa Sabahee expressed her gratitude for UNESCO’s support in establishing Migrant Birds Intermediate School stating that “the school will help protect IDPs, in particular young girls and offer them the opportunity to receive high quality education.”

Amin Mansoor, Head of the Education Committee and Maki Mahous, Director General of Education in Basrah stressed the positive change that the opening of the school will bring about at the camp, reminding parents of their responsibility to enrol their children at the school.

270 families – all together 2400 people – are currently residing in Al-Souk Al-Asari camp; the opening of this intermediate school will enable many students to continue their education.

The new school will cater to 300 students (150 boys and 150 girls) and ten teachers in two shifts. The school, with its six classrooms, two multipurpose halls, five toilets, and a play area, is the third school and first intermediate school to be constructed by UNESCO within the framework of the project ‘Providing access to quality education to adolescents and young adults in conflict-affected areas in Iraq’, funded by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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For more information please contact: Project Manager: Zulfiqar Ali (zu.ali@unesco.org) and/or Public Information Assistant: Seema Huneidi (s.huneidi@unesco.org)