Azerbaijan: Renovation of school restores learning opportunities for children in conflict-affected village
"The windows were broken, and the school equipment and furniture was completely damaged."said Fizuli Nazarov, the principal of the IDP school.). "The roof was also badly affected, and water dripped into all the classrooms which led to mold growing on the walls and ceiling. The poor condition of the school kept children from attending classes," he added.
Fizuli explained that the administration had to persuade parents to continue sending their children to the school due to the inadequate learning conditions. "I am also a parent and my son is a fourth grade student in the same school. I was ashamed to force parents to send their children to study in such poor conditions, when we did not even have enough desks and basic teaching equipment," he said.
In 2022, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) rehabilitated the school as part of its Access to Education programme. In 2021-2022, ICRC rehabilitated and furnished 33 of the most damaged schools and kindergartens in conflict-affected areas of Azerbaijan. The Tezekend school rehabilitation project, which included improvements of the heating, sanitary and irrigation facilities, was wrapped up in 2022.
The ICRC also provided new furniture, playground and sports equipment, and teaching and learning materials, including 180 school kits for the students. "The children were so happy to get new school bags. In fact, some of our students didn't have new one before," said Fizuli, adding that the school is once again filled with the laughter of children. "I am happy to see how our classrooms are full of children now," he said.
Besides these initiatives, the Tezekend school was selected for a pilot project along with two primary-health-care facilities in Aghdam and Terter to implement simple, on-grid solar systems with a power capacity of 3.3 kW each, with no battery storage. "In line with our climate and environmental strategy, the project aims to mitigate CO2 emissions by reducing dependence on grid electricity. This also helps reduce operational costs, with preliminary results indicating a 50% reduction in electricity bills after the installation of solar panels."said Vladislav Kulokov, Water and Habitat program coordinator in ICRC Baku delegation.
The ICRC is an impartial, neutral and independent organization whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of people affected by armed conflict and other violence. Conflicts significantly hamper safe access to education for children in affected communities. Through our Access to Education programme, we support children in conflict-affected areas of Azerbaijan and ensure they enjoy safe and quality access to school and kindergarten.