By Spc. Joseph Rivera Rebolledo, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry DivisionMay 20, 2008
UR, Iraq - Multi-National-Division - Baghdad Soldiers are working with a local headmaster to improve the last standing primary school for girls in a northern Baghdad neighborhood.
The Soldiers, from 3rd Platoon, Company A, 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 68th Armored Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, visited the Al Murooa school for girls in Ur, May 12.
During the visit, the Soldiers met with the school headmaster and discussed the conditions of the school as well as other needs and ways in which improvements to the quality of life can be made for the students and teachers of the school.
"We took the opportunity to meet and introduce ourselves to the leadership of one of the local primary schools for the Ur neighborhood; to try start the beginning of a good working relationship between them and us," said 1st Lt. Matthew George, a native of Los Angeles, who serves as platoon leader with Co. A, 1-68 AR.
Part of the mission was for Soldiers to identify needs by establishing a solid relationship with the school leadership and local residents.
As the visit and communication progressed, they discussed topics such as finding ways to receive additional help from the Iraqi government and neighborhood councils for the more than 800 students who attend the school.
For the Soldiers, the main goal is to serve as a conduit for the school leadership and the Iraqi government, said 1st Lt. George.
The Al Murooa school is the last primary school for girls standing at Ur and educates children from the ages 6 to 15. It serves the residents of Ur as well as the surrounding neighborhoods.
In order to accommodate the more than 800 students, classes are carried out in different sessions; one morning session and the other two in the afternoon.
While the meeting was conducted inside, other things were happening on the outside.
A group of children gathered around greeting Soldiers and asking questions of their outfit. Adults also showed up and did the same. The Soldiers took this opportunity to hand out backpacks as they played and talked with the children.
"You feel good about it, these kids grow up with hardly anything, and when they see Americans try to help them, it lets them see we are here for them," said Sgt. Aaron Simmons, a native of Texas City, Texas, who serves as a squad leader with 1-68 AR.
All in all, the feedback of the meeting was successful. Soldiers and children had fun, and adults were helped, all reaching their different goals at once.
"The experience was good, the effort will definitely pay out in the future," said Sgt. Simmons.