Germany promotes private initiative
to build girls' school in Northern Afghanistan

Source: Government of Germany / October 5, 2008

In memory of Mario Keller, a German police officer killed last year, a girls' school is under construction in Northern Afghanistan.

Along with two colleagues, Mr Keller lost his life in a bomb attack in Kabul on 15 August 2007. Shortly before his tragic death, during a visit to Badakhshan Province, he had been deeply impressed by the landscapes and the people he had met there.

For that reason, Mario Keller's relatives have launched a school project: Together with "Lachen Helfen e.V.", a private initiative by German soldiers to help children in war and crisis areas, they are promoting the construction of the girls' school in the village of Shoduj to honour his memory. The Federal Foreign Office will add a further 95,000 euro to the 57,000 euro already donated. The project will be implemented by the Aga Khan Foundation.

The local people, with the support of the provincial governor, had previously requested help with building the school from the German Provincial Reconstruction Team in Feyzabad.

By Afghan standards, Shegnan District has a relatively high level of education. The inhabitants of this remote mountainous region are doing what they can to support the project, as education for girls has a particularly high priority in Shegnan.

The secondary school will comprise eight classes, a total of around 500 schoolgirls. Lessons are due to begin in autumn 2009. This week, a plaque commemorating Mario Keller will be unveiled in a ceremony at the school.

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