Creating safe learning spaces

Through the Safe Schools Project, Plan International and its partners are working towards providing school children with a safer learning environment

Government Girls Primary School, Dari, is located 26 kilometers away from the city of Ghotki, and boasts over a hundred enrolled students. Before the Safer Schools project was initiated in the community, the school was full of risks: there were thorny plants, grass, weeds and rubbish on the school grounds. Electricity wires also posed a threat. In short, the school was in a hazardous condition and the school administration did not appear to be concerned about the dangers that the situation presented.

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Dangling, overhead wires used to pose a threat to students and staff

School staff and students lacked knowledge about natural and man-made calamities or ways to stay safe from them. No safety committee or a school representative’s council existed. The School Management Committee (SMC) was nonfunctional as the school was not receiving SMC funds at the time. Children, parents and staff lacked information about disasters and safety precautions.

After the Safer Schools project was launched, sensitisation sessions were offered to parents and sessions with school children and teachers were also arranged. A local CSO – the Sewai Foundation – working with Plan’s partners facilitated meetings with school staff, students, parents and the SMC committee to cope with the hazardous situation of the school. During the Hazard Vulnerability Capacity Assessment (HVCA), children identified potential risks in and around the school building.

Sessions and training programmes were also arranged to impart knowledge about disasters and safety which took a grass roots approach and addressed basic questions like: “what is a disaster?”, “what are its kinds?” and “how to be safe from disasters?”

The participants learnt through training sessions, mock drills and activities. As they gained knowledge about disasters they realised that their school’s dilapidated condition posed certain risks which needed to be mitigated. Through collective efforts, school safety improved with the passage of time.

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Dilapidated condition of the boundary wall before the Safer Schools Project was initiated

Today the school is safe to a satisfactory extent; the play-ground is neat and clean, thorny plants have been removed and damaged electric wires have been repaired. The school staff, children, SMC and parents have gained knowledge about disasters and the safety measures. A school safety committee and school representative’s council have also been formed, which are working to make the school safer. The headmistress, parents and community also enjoy greater confidence in the school.

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About Plan Pakistan
Plan is committed to achieving a world in which all children realise their full potential in societies that respect people’s rights and dignity. Plan Pakistan’s operations commenced in 1997 and the organisation currently implements programmes and campaigns in 21 districts in all 5 provinces of Pakistan using the Child Centered Community Development (CCCD) approach.

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