Saturday, November 22, 2008

Children Return To Refurbished Kindergarten

by Lt. Col. Wayne Marotto
2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division

BAGHDAD (Nov. 22, 2008) — Wurwood Kindergarten School officially reopened its doors Nov. 21 in the Rasheed neighborhood of Salman Pak after a two-month-long refurbishing period. The school has 350 students enrolled, ages 4 to 5 years old, and six classrooms. Prior to the refurbishment, the school could only hold 60 students. The school employs eight teachers, a director and an assistant.

Neighborhood children leave the Wurwood Kindergarten reopening ceremony Nov. 21 in Salman Pak, Iraq. The school completed a two month refurbishment and reopened its doors for students. The Iraqi Army, local Sheiks and Coalition Forces from Task Force 2-6 IN, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division assisted the kindergarten in completing the refurbishment. “The neighborhood families feel safe sending their kids to the school,” said Nawad Abid Alaziz, the school’s headmistress, adding that the refurbishment flows in synch with the improved security in the area.

Capt. William Richardson, the commander of Company C, Task Force 2nd Bn., 6th Inf. Regt., 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad, along with his Soldiers, attended the building dedication ceremony. His unit assisted the Iraqi Army (IA), local sheiks and contractors in achieving their success at the school. “The increased professionalism of the Iraqi Army has made the area more secure,” Richardson said.

The brightly painted and orderly school contrasts to what the building’s condition was a short time ago. Much of the building had been hit by gunfire and was strewn with garbage.

Alaziz led Richardson, along with Iraqi Army officers and local sheiks on a tour of the school. Alaziz said she was pleased with the $80,000 refurbishment and that she watches television and sees American kindergarten schools and dreams of having schools like that in Iraq to educate their children.

“We need more rugs, a hot water heater, space heaters for the classrooms and more furniture,” Alaziz told the group. Richardson said he felt improving education opportunities for the children requires efforts from all those involved.

“Yes, that’s very important because the kids are the future, and with the help of the IA, sheiks and neighborhood, we can make the school better,” said Richardson.

The kindergarten project is part of a larger program in the neighborhood. The overall objective of the Disarmament, Disbandment and Reintegration is to pump $5.6 million in the area to stimulate the economy and provide employment and vocational skills for lasting employability. The money will be spent on seven construction projects, which will include two more kindergarten schools in the neighborhood, a land registration office, roads, a clinic, new fire trucks and new ambulances.

Neighborhood children leave the Wurwood Kindergarten reopening ceremony Nov. 21 in Salman Pak, Iraq. The school completed a two month refurbishment and reopened its doors for students. The Iraqi Army, local Sheiks and Coalition Forces from Task Force 2-6 IN, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division assisted the kindergarten in completing the refurbishment.

Source: CENTCOM.

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