Rooms enable teaching for 150 children based on the Montessori pedagogy
The primary school run by the international Christian relief organization Shelter Now in the Afghan capital Kabul has a new home: after several years of searching, the 150 students and teachers of the “Helping Hands Educational Center” were able to move into a former restaurant. With a total of nine rooms, including four classrooms, the new domicile has very good conditions for teaching according to the principles of Montessori education, says the German Shelter Now director Udo Stolte.
Since the relocation, the 86 girls and 64 boys are all taught in the morning – in the old building there were only two classrooms; half of the students had to come to school in the afternoon. In the “Helping Hands Educational Center” there are classes 1 to 4 for children aged six to twelve. They come from different Afghan ethnic groups such as Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras or Uzbeks.
Five teachers teach the languages Dari, Pashto and English, as well as mathematics, science, social studies, drawing and sports. They have attended training courses over the past few years to learn the Montessori method of learning. “Instead of frontal teaching with memorization – as it is still often the case in Afghanistan – the focus is on student-centered learning, self-directed activities, interactive learning and collaborative play,” explains Udo Stolte.
Teachers and schoolchildren were also delighted with the large, landscaped inner courtyard, which is used as a schoolyard and playground. The relief organization continues to ask for donations for the running of the school: 20 euros currently provide one month’s tuition for a child. Starting in spring, Shelter Now would also like to offer school lunches, as many girls and boys do not get regular meals at home.
Shelter Now took over the primary school, which opened in 2002, from another organization in 2009. It was closed for a short time due to the political changes in Afghanistan in the summer of 2021. After the Taliban regime renewed the charity’s accreditation, the Helping Hands Educational Center could reopen in the fall of 2021, according to Stolte.
Brunswick, November 16, 2022
Shelter Now is an international relief organization with a coordination office in Germany. It was active in Pakistan from 1983 to 2016. Work began in 1988 in Afghanistan and in 2014 in the Autonomous Region of Kurdistan (Northern Iraq). The name of the organization in Germany is “Shelter Now Germany e.V.”. Shelter Now finances its relief efforts to a large extent from private donations. Shelter Now’s efficient and project-related use of funds is certified by the German Central Institute for Social Issues (DZI) with the donation seal.