Thirty-five new schools in southern area of Punjab province in Pakistan today have opened with 4,500 pupils attending classes.
The schools were constructed by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Punjab province in Pakistan was devastated by floods in 2010.
The schools have been handed over to the Punjab Education Department. The schools are in the districts of Muzaffargah, Rajanpur and Rahimyar Khan.
The embassy of the Netherlands in Pakistan contributed $1.2 million for the construction of 24 schools. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) also donated an additional $250,000, which was used to build seven schools. Italy, Hungary and Sweden also donated funds for the construction of four schools.
UNICEF initiated a schools reconstruction programme in the worst affected districts of southern Punjab and other parts of the country since most of the Government school buildings were either damaged or completely destroyed.
The agency also established temporary learning centres to ensure that children did not miss their academic year.
“The Child Friendly Schooling approach is interactive and makes learning fun for children.” -Karen Allen, UNICEF’s deputy representative in Pakistan
The flooding has affected some 20 million people and 20 per cent of Pakistan’s land, leaving up to 12 million people in need of urgent humanitarian aid in 2010.
U.N. and U.S. officials declared the Pakistan flooding to be worse than the 2004 Asian tsunami, the 2005 Pakistan earthquake and the Haiti earthquake combined. Yet, the donations made to Pakistan are disappointing lower compared to any of the recent disasters in history.
Since its founding in 1946, UNICEF has evolved from an emergency fund to a developing agency, committed to protecting the rights of every child to survival, protection and development. Its work is guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child — the most widely accepted human rights treaty in the world.