Project established 2015
Jirghai School Project represents the new phase of indigo foundation’s development assistance to rural education in Afghanistan. It is forged on the the successes of the Borjegai schools project that provided the educational infrastructure and support for a network of nine schools, accommodating around 4,500 children – and radically improving schooling outcomes for children, especially girls – in this neglected remote area of Ghazni Province.
Jirghai, Borjegai’s neighbouring community, is also located in Nawur District of Ghazni Province in Afghanistan. It is approximately 300 km south of Kabul and is composed of many sub-villages. It has a population of around 35,000-40,000 people. The primary source of income in the community is subsistence farming and remittances sent back by male family members working in major city centers or in neighbouring countries.
The people of Jirghai have historically suffered from geographic isolation and systemic discrimination. As such, the existing infrastructure in the community is in very poor condition. The majority of Jirghai people do not have access to safe roads, health clinics and safe drinking water. The area has also not seen any significant outside help in the past decade except the support they received for three school buildings from the Ministry of Education, and some assistance for their roads from the National Solidarity Program.
However, Jirghai people have demonstrated a significant commitment to the education of their children since 2003. Currently, there are twenty-one schools (8 high schools, 8 mid-secondary schools and 5 primary schools) in Jirghai. All Jirghai schools, except Imam Hussein and Al-Zahra Mid Secondary Schools, are co-ed schools and registered with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Education.
In partnership with the Jirghai community, we have developed a plan to provide education infrastructure including two school buildings, furniture, hygiene facilities and safe drinking water for four Jirghai schools, accommodating around 1800 students. The first works – currently underway are – the construction of Shebar High School (SHS) and furniture of Imam Hussien High School (IHHS).
The people of Jirghai, having seen and been inspired by the impact of the Borjegai and indigo foundation to educate their children, formed an alliance with Borjegi and sought the support of indigo foundation, starting in 2010.
In 2012-2013, indigo foundation assisted the community with their initial request for a short teacher-training course, which helped 15 teachers in the community’s three high schools. The successful completion of that project, and bringing together the three high schools represented a milestone achievement for the Jirghai community.
The Jirghai community continued to communicate with indigo foundation. They hoped that a stronger partnership would help them to improve the poor infrastructure of their schools, and to provide quality education for their children (as it happened in Borjegai in the past decade). As such, they identified their school needs and collectively decided the construction of Shebar High School (SHS) and furniture of Imam Hussien High School (IHHS) as their immediate priorities. In a sense, SHS represents the scale of education needs in the community and IHHS highlights the community’s commitment and capacity to work with potential new partners.
Jirghai School Project has achieved significant milestones since the beginning of our formal partnership with the community. They include the successful completion of teacher training for 15 teachers in 2013, and the very recent completion of furniture for Imam Hussein High School (IHHS). The IHHS furniture has benefitted around 650 students, of which around 30-35 percent are girls.
Jirghai School Project has also become a catalyst for community collaboration. In addition to their significant financial and non-financial contributions, the community has worked extremely well during the initial planning, development and implementation of these education projects. For example, they have recently agreed to use the nearby mosque well to provide safe and clean drinking water for IHHS students. It represents their commitment to education and their collective decisions to use the existing community resources for education purpose. Indigo has embraced their collective decision and has provided a water pump for the well.
Significantly enough, the successful completion of IHHS furniture in Jirghai demonstrates the use and future potentials of the Borjegai School Project for community development beyond Borjegai. It has helped us to see the broader achievements of our education projects in Afghanistan, and we are hopeful that its impacts continue to grow.