Quality education key to Pakistan's recovery
28 January 2011: Quality schooling is now a priority for children in flood ravaged Pakistan.
In the immediate aftermath of the devastating floods that hit Pakistan, Plan assisted some 300,000 people with life-saving supplies such as shelter, food, safe water and hygiene kits. Now 6 months on Plan is working to get over 58,000 children back to school in South Punjab.
“There has been widespread damage to school buildings and classrooms, as well as the loss of school equipment. Children have lost out on months of education and Plan’s priority is now to get these children back learning,” says Haider Yaqub Plan’s country director in Pakistan.
“And while it’s a priority to get children back to school, it is also vital we ensure these children are receiving a quality education in safe and secure surroundings. Plan has been working with communities, teachers and the local districts to strengthen education systems and also provide safe spaces where children can feel life has returned to normal for them,” continues Haider.
Child marriage to rise
In a recent assessment carried out by Plan and Interact Worldwide in the Punjab region, it was noted that the rates of child marriage are likely to rise in the aftermath of the flooding. If not watched closely this practice could result in thousands of girls dropping out of school, warn Plan experts.
While many communities in the South Punjab districts have returned to their villages, they are still in need of immediate help to survive the winter and seasons ahead. Plan has distributed winter kits to families, consisting of blankets, mattresses and shawls to help with those needs.
It is anticipated that food shortages will begin to affect communities in the coming months and continued support for the millions displaced by the floods will be needed well into 2011.
Plan has been working with communities to provide safe spaces where children can feel life has returned to normal.
“Although we have seen a lot of recovery and life-saving work in Pakistan in the months since the floods hit, we now need to focus on getting life going again for communities. Families need livelihoods and income, people need to be trained in disaster management and we need to see the smiling faces of children in school,” says Yaqub.
Find out more about Plan's work in Pakistan.