Back where they belong

After three years of conflict, hundreds of students in the Nineveh Plains return to their classrooms, eager to pick up where they left off.

Students and educators in Nineveh Plains, Iraq, back where they belong: in the classroom

Schools are back in session in Hamdaniyah, Nimrud, and other communities across the Nineveh Plains of Iraq, only weeks after these areas were recaptured from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Damaged classrooms at 20 schools have come back to life, opening their doors to hundreds of students keen on continuing their learning.

Maryam al Adhraa (Virgin Mary) High School in Hamdaniyah reopened on 7 October 2017 after being closed for three years due to ISIL occupation.

Through UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization, the rehabilitation of more than a dozen more schools is underway. After three years of disruption under ISIL, reclaiming learning spaces in Hamdaniyah and Nimrud sends a messages of hope to students as they get on with what they used to do — reading, writing, answering questions, and having fun in the classroom.

A class in session on 11 October 2017 at Al Thibyania Primary School in Nimrud, recently renovated by UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization.

Al Thibyania Primary School in Nimrud suffered great damaged during ISIL occupation and has since been renovated with the help of UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization.

“We are very happy they provided us these renovations,” said Saad Nahidh Hamedy, Principal of the Al Thibyania Primary School in Nimrud. “On behalf of the other teachers we say thank you very much.”

Saad Nahidh Hamedy, Principal of the Al Thibyania Primary School in Nimrud

Across the Nineveh Plains of Iraq, persecuted communities under the reign of ISIL have suffered tremendously, from Yazidi communities in western Nineveh to Christian, Shabak, Turkmen, and other minority communities in northern and southern Nineveh. UNDP is working day-and-night to accelerate their safe and dignified return.

The scenes of young people learning are profoundly important. They signal a wider return to life and dignity in Nineveh.

UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization is helping the Government of Iraq and local authorities to restore electricity, water and sanitation systems, as well as hospitals and health centres across their homelands. UNDP has also begun assessments of thousands of damaged homes in towns like Bartela, an urgent priority for the communities.

UNDP’s support for minority and other communities in areas liberated from ISIL goes far beyond the renovation of schools.

It is part of UNDP’s broader effort to support the Government of Iraq to enable over 5.8 million Iraqis displaced by the conflict to return home. To this end, the Funding Facility is implementing more than 1,498 projects in Anbar, Salah al-Din, Nineveh, Diyala and Kirkuk Governorates. More than 2.6 million people have already returned, and efforts continue to support the return of the rest.

Al Taghllubia School for Boys suffered damage during ISIL occupation and the battle to retake the town. After being closed for three years the school reopened to its students on 11 October 2017, following its rehabilitation by UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization
“It’s very nice to feel home again,” said, a parent as she watched her son play with his mates in the courtyard. “We appreciate it so much that our kids were able to come back to study here, in the only school that they had ever known”

UNDP is approaching Stabilization in a new way. Most of the rehabilitation work is done in partnership with local businesses, giving local companies and workers the opportunity to rebuild their own community, whilst earning an income.

Local private sector companies bid for the rehabilitation work, and create jobs for community members

Maryam al Adhraa High School in Hamdaniyah, reopened on 7 October 2017 after the Funding Facility for Stabilization rehabilitated it installing a new electrical board — a critical addition that restored electric power to the school, connecting to the broader electrical grid that the Facility is rehabilitating throughout the Nineveh Plains.

Amal Azzu Petros, Principal of Maryam al Adhraa High School in Hamdaniyah, and the school’s new electrical board.

“This brand new electrical board was a great gift” said Amal Azzu Petros, Principal of Maryam al Adhraa High School in Hamdaniyah. “We could not have reopened without it” she said.


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