Afghan crisis: Delhi's refugee school faces uncertain future as funds dwindle

·2-min read
Visual of the Syed Jamaluddin Afghan School in Delhi's Bhogal (Photo/ANI)
Visual of the Syed Jamaluddin Afghan School in Delhi's Bhogal (Photo/ANI)

New Delhi [India], September 6 (ANI): Faced with an acute shortage of funds, the Syed Jamaluddin Afghan School in Delhi's Bhogal, the only educational resource for refugees from the war-torn country in the area is staring at an uncertain future.

"We are facing two major problems. First is the salary of the teachers as they didn't receive the salary for the last nine months and the second problem is that the rent of the school has not been paid for a while. All funds come from the Ministry of Education to the embassy in Delhi. It is a long procedure and we haven't received it yet," the school's deputy administrator Kanishka Shahabi told ANI here.

Authorities of the school which commenced operation around two decades ago fear that political turmoil in Afghanistan will result in the closure of this school.

"These days, we can't find a responsible person in Afghanistan to talk about schools as the ministry of education is closed. Nobody knows what will happen. It is very soon to say something about the condition, school is a small institution we don't know what will happen next," deputy administrator of the school Kanishka Shahabi told ANI here.

He also mentioned that 95 per cent of the staff are women and under the regime of the Taliban the fate of the women staff remains undecided.

School currently is functioning solely online but the deputy administrator mentions that due to nonpayment of salaries, many teachers might opt out of the institute.

"The school is not closed, teaching is continuing online mode. Teachers are tired and don't have money to pay for the internet. We want to open the school but we are facing a crisis of funds. Maybe some teachers might not come to teach and who knows whether the new government will send money or not," as per Shahabi.

The Bhogal based school administration has requested the Afghan embassy and Indian government to resolve the issues and help run the institution smoothly.

The deputy administrator also asserts that around two to three years back, around 800 students were enrolled but now the count has dwindled to just 375 with 36 staff members out of which 25 are teachers and rest look after administrative affairs.

Initially, the school was related to an NGO Women's Federation for Work, which shut down the school in the early 2000s. For a few days, the school was also run with donations, although after this the Afghan government started providing financial assistance to it.

The school principal Saniafeda Taj, who refused to comment on camera, said, "We are also in constant touch with the Afghanistan Embassy but there has not been any respite from there yet. We are also trying for any kind of assistance from the Government of India or other institutions. In view of the situation, the owner of the building has also been requested to reduce the rent." (ANI)

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