16 Aug. 2008
PR# 2008-394

ISAF soldiers bring joy to children before the school opening

KABUL, Afghanistan - There are 23, 800 multi-national troops serving as part of Regional Command South and every one of them is here to do an important job toward the ISAF mission.

Kandahar Air Field is home to some 14,000 people, both civilian and military. For a lot of these people, their vision of Afghanistan stops at the camp gates, as many make their important contribution from an office environment rather than out on the ground outside the wire. Their normal contact with Afghans is usually limited to the interpreters they work along side with.

This changed for a small group of people who finally met local Afghans face to face August 14. Outside the main fence of KAF is Camp Hero, home to 205 ANA Corps.  Nearby are the homes of Afghan families, known locally as the ‘Russian flats.’ Within these dilapidated buildings, local children go to school.

This is soon to change when, September 6, the children will return to school. Shaid Sayed Phacha High School will be in a brand new building situated a short walk down the road from the old school.

In recent weeks, Dutch family members from across Holland have been sending small items for the Afghan children. A small group of Dutch service personnel from RC(S) went to the Russian flats to meet the Deputy Principle of the school to deliver the donated items prior to the school’s opening.

The Deputy Principle was very grateful for the practical and beneficial materials and the kindness shown by the Dutch people, and took the opportunity to explain the realities of school life here.

There are 520 pupils at Shaid Sayed Phacha High School ranging from age six up to twenty one with only 14 teachers to provide the education. Only the Principle himself has a degree. The education provided is as good as it can be in the current circumstances, with a large number of children showing a very good grasp of English.

After meeting with the Deputy Principle, Dutch personnel went outside to meet with some of the children and a few of the teachers who lived there. They had brought with them some bubble mix to introduce the children to the art of blowing bubbles, which the children found very exciting.

This short experience provided a real insight into life in Afghanistan and was a profoundly moving and emotional experience for all involved.  It has made them realise how lucky they are; and provided a better understanding of why they are in Afghanistan, to do their job well, make the ISAF mission work and help build a better future for this nation’s people.

Contact Information ISAF Public Affairs Office
Tel: +93 (0)799 51 1155 - Mobile: 0093 (0) 799 55 8291 pressoffice@hq.isaf.nato.int - www.nato.int/isaf/