The idea of a girls’ school might seem ordinary, but in the village of Bardala in the Jordan valley, ANERA, with USAID funding, has changed people’s lives by building a new school just for girls.
School Headmistress Ms. Fadwa Sawaftah, cannot stress enough the importance of having a girls’ school in Bardala. She said that “before building the school, we used to notice a big drop in girls’ enrollment after the eighth grade. Many families prevented their girls from going to the coed high school in the village, which is religiously conservative. But this year, we noticed an increase in the numbers of girls attending higher grades.”
Ms. Sawaftah added, “I have always been proud of my girls who are thirsty to learn and are able to score high grades on their exams despite having to study under very hard conditions. With this new building, I know that they will be able to accomplish much more. Also, parents are happy because their girls don’t have to travel to Tubas or Jericho to seek higher-level education.”
The new school has 12 classrooms, a library, computer and science labs, administration and teachers’ rooms as well as a playground. Eighteen teachers instruct 420 girls from first grade to twelfth.
Walking through the corridors of the school, you can see the happiness on the faces of the children as they are entering classes ready to learn new things.
“Here, we can dance, we can play, and learn without being shy,” said May Salem, a nine-year-old student at the school, while eating her lunch in the playground. Her friend Maram laughed and chimed in, “I love this school. It has nice doors and windows. The classrooms are cool. It’s just for us.”