Schools bringing hope to Iraq
Thursday, 13 November 2008

By Kendal Smith
Gulf Region Central district

Baghdad, Iraq – Themes of hope dominate school openings and ribbon cutting events throughout Iraq. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Gulf Region Division has overseen the renovation or new construction of nearly 1,100 schools, and another 38 are still in construction.

“This ancient civilization of Mesopotamia between the two rivers taught the world how to read and how to write,” said Ahmed Rubayee, director general of Baghdad’s Rusafa secondary education department at Al Neel School, which opened in July. “That is what we are doing here today, establishing a school – and to once again be civilized and concentrate on teaching our children to read and write.”

With the same theme of hope in a stable civilization for education, a new wing of six classrooms for Al Abrar primary school, south of Baghdad, opened for students on Oct. 15. Located in the Mahmoudiyah Qada district, this $496,000 project adds much needed classroom space and facilities for this rural area.

“The ribbon cutting for this school not only signals the completion of a building, it signals one small addition of hope for the Iraqi people,” said Col. Ron Light, Gulf Region Central district commander. “While we are here to celebrate the completion of a school, more importantly, you can see the faces of hope on the children. You see the joy of being at a decent school, and that is exciting.”

The school has more than 650 students, but due to a lack of teachers, can only conduct one crowded session. At the ceremony, Al Abrar’s headmaster, Mahmoud Alewee said, “This new building serves us well since the school was never expanded from its beginning in 1960 until now, but we need more rooms.” …(read more here)