FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
RELEASE No. 20081211-09
Dec. 11, 2008
Al Kareme School opens in Baghdad
CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq – The Iskan community of Baghdad witnessed a good day when its largest intermediate school reopened Dec. 4 after an extensive renovation project. Only a decade old, the heavy neglect and abuse of the Al Kareme schoolhouse had left it unusable. Under these conditions, students attending the schoolhouse had to be transported to another location.“The school was so bad that they couldn’t study there, so they transferred 1,200 students to another school,” said Nima Alsiegh, a civil engineer and overseer of the renovation. “There was [sic] no doors, no electricity, no bathrooms, no water and no desks. There was nothing in the school, so they left for obvious reasons.”
Many of Baghdad’s schools are in poor condition – the Al Kareme schoolhouse being one of them. The reconstruction effort of the Coalition forces and Iraqi contractors focused their attention not only on the rebuilding of the school but an added benefit of providing a sense of normalcy and opportunity for local nationals in the area.
“You’d be surprised at how quickly a school can get run down if no one is picking up after the kids,” said Capt. Kelly Lanphere, 4th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, attached to 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad. “Imagine no one taking out the trash and not cleaning up the bathrooms. ‘Where does the trash go?’ They just chuck it outside of the front gate. The school quickly becomes full of trash everywhere, blowing trash, the smell of sewage all over the place from the bathrooms getting plugged up.”
After an evaluation of the dilapidated building, the project took off – three months and $168,000 later, a beautiful school was handed back over to the people of Iskan. The funding came from the Commanders Emergency Relief Program. “We did an assessment, and then the contractors started to work and everything has changed 100 percent,” said Alseigh.
The rebuilding of the schoolhouse also included a large conference theater room. “There is a big theater room for conferences; they changed the doors and glass, rebuilt the bathrooms, put in lights, new paint, a new generator, new flooring, fans and a new sewage system. You name it, they restored it.”
Success like the reopening of the Al Kareme School has made it possible for the CF to maintain security throughout Baghdad. The continuing effort to maintain security and evolving improvements are the defining cause of a greater sense of normalcy and improvement of life.
May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.