The Qala-e-Malakh School has 1,860 students in grades 1-12. Twenty percent of the school’s students are girls, an amazing statistic in a country that didn’t allow any girls to go to school under the Taliban’s reign, from 1994 to 2001.
Such educational opportunities have been rare in rural Afghanistan for decades.
Before 2004, the village of Qala-e-Malakh, in the Behsood District, had no physical school building. Classes were held in an outdoor courtyard, and girls had very limited opportunities to get an education.
AWAKEN addressed these problems in 2004 by building the Qala-e-Malakh School, which, at first, had six classrooms for 221 students in grades 1-6. Our space and numbers have since expanded and we now have 1960 students enrolled.
Once the school was well-established, AWAKEN turned over management of the school to the Afghan government, but today it still remains heavily involved in staffing, facilities, and programmatic needs. For example:
AWAKEN ensures that there are always two female teachers at the school—and pays their salaries—to encourage enrollment and attendance of female students.
Each year AWAKEN provides as many as 18 university scholarships to deserving graduates of the school—both men and women—covering their tuition, room, and board, as well as the mentorship they need to be successful.
As needed, AWAKEN funds periodic repairs and refurbishment at the school: fresh coats of paint, plaster repairs, and other needed maintenance.
With the support of Rotary Foundation grants, AWAKEN has addressed water quality and sanitation issues at the school by drilling a new well for drinking water, building new latrines, and installing handwashing stations.
AWAKEN installed solar panels to reduce the use of fossil fuels and electricity costs at the school.
The Qala-e-Malakh School is a rare treasure in the Behsood District, especially for girls, who otherwise would have no opportunity for formal education. (While boys can be sent to another village to attend school, girls don’t share that same privilege.) Thousands of young Afghans have experienced the transformative power of education, thanks to AWAKEN.