Lifeliners, ANA team up to provide school with desks, chairs

By Pfc. Michael Vanpool
TF Lifeliners, 101st Sustainment Brigade

BALKH PROVINCE, Afghanistan, Dec. 30, 2010 - They had been waiting all morning.
When they heard the trucks arrived, they jumped from the concrete floors of the bare classrooms and ran outside.
"We're glad to sit down and study," the school kids said, surrounded by the new desks and chairs, as well as an opportunity for education.
The 87th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 101st Sustainment Brigade, and the 5th Kandak, 3rd Brigade, 209th Afghan National Army Corps, brought 75 desks and chairs to the Khasapaz Primary School in the Dehdadi District.
"Today is a good day to help solve the problems with our children and give them desks and chairs," said Maj. Mohammad Sali, executive officer of 5th Kandak.
The 87th CSSB's Command Emergency Response Program teamed up with the 5th Kandak to help bring the desks to the school.
"CERP is a way for commanders to make positive humanitarian aid effect in their area of operations," said 1st Lt. Pierce Pettis, CERP project purchasing officer for the 87th CSSB. "With CERP, our commander can reach beyond the walls of the [forward operating base]."
The 87th CSSB CERP team met with the district village elders of and Wali Shah, the sub-governor of Dehdadi, to find ways to provide assistance for the people.
The Khasapaz Primary school was recently built and has 1100 students who attend, but it lacked desks and chairs. Some students were turned away from the school before the chairs and desks arrived, Shah said.
"Education is getting very good and the children have a brighter future," Shah said.
"This a beginning. Hopefully we can continue this and help the children out."
Many groups gathered together to build the school and to ensure the children receive an education.
The Afghan National Police provide security so that the children can go to school safe and without fear, Shah said. The land was donated was a Haji in the village and built by the education department, Sali said.
"I'm asking village elders to motivate the children with their education," he said. "If you don't have an education, the enemy can come and get you. If you have an education, the enemy will never reach you."
Khasapaz Primary School project is an opportunity for the ANA and provincial governments to show the people of Afghanistan they are willing to help them.
"When these kids grow up, they will remember the ANA helped them and brought desks to them," Pettis said. "It will strengthen the bond between the people and the government."
The Dehdadi district has over 30,000 students in attendance. The ANA and 87th CSSB CERP team will carry on and provide aid to the area with future projects. "We will continue the operations because many schools need supplies and wells," said Sali.
Pettis said the CERP team of the 87th CSSB will continue their efforts in the Dehdadi district by directly providing humanitarian aid through education, civic centers and municipal projects to help improve lives.
The project giving desks and chairs to Khasapaz Primary School was the 87th CSSB CERP team's first major project since being formed in early November. They provided extra wood to local Afghans, and they donated concrete to a civic center, where village elders gather to hold meetings, Pettis said.
"The best way to inspire them is to show them we are here to help them," he said. "The more you educate them, the better off the kids will be."
"Education is the best thing for our country," said Chudam Rasul Rustahi, chairman of the Dehdadi District Education Department. "Education can help build our country."