NEW DELHI — The Syed Jamaluddin Afghan School in Bhogal of the Indian capital New Delhi faced an acute shortage of funds. The only educational resource for refugees from the war-torn countries in the area is staring at an uncertain future.
“We are facing two major problems,” said Kanishka Shahabi, the school’s teachers’ deputy administrator.
“First is the teachers’ salary as they did not receive the salary for the last nine months, and the second problem is that the rent of the school has not been paid for a while. All funds come from the Ministry of Education to the embassy in Delhi. It is a long procedure, and we haven’t received it yet.”
Authorities of the school, which commenced operation around two decades ago, fear that political turmoil in Afghanistan will result in the closure of this school.
“These days, we cannot find a responsible person in Afghanistan to talk about schools as the ministry of education is closed,” said Shahabi.
“Nobody knows what will happen. It is very soon to say something about the condition. School is a small institution; we don’t know what will happen next.”
He said 95 percent of the staff are women, and under the regime of the Taliban, the fate of the women staff remains undecided.
School currently is functioning online, but the deputy administrator mentions that many teachers might opt out of the institute due to nonpayment of salaries.
“The school is not closed,” said Shahabi.
“Teaching is continuing online mode. Teachers are tired and don’t have money to pay for the internet. We want to open the school, but we are facing a crisis of funds. Maybe some teachers might not come to teach, and who knows whether the new government will send money or not.”
The Bhogal based school administration has requested the Afghan embassy and Indian government to resolve the issues and help run the institution smoothly.
The deputy administrator also asserts that around two to three years back, around 800 students were enrolled. Still, the count has dwindled to just 375, with 36 staff members out of which 25 are teachers, and the rest look after administrative affairs.
Initially, the school was related to a non-governmental organization, Women’s Federation for Work, which shut down the school in the early 2000s. For a few days, the school was also run with donations, although after this, the Afghan government started providing financial assistance to it.
“We are also in constant touch with the Afghanistan Embassy, but there has not been any respite from there yet,” said Saniafeda Taj, the school principal who refused to comment on camera.
“We are also trying for any assistance from the Government of India or other institutions. Because of the situation, the building owner has also been requested to reduce the rent.”
Meanwhile, Afghan nationals who arrived in India before the Taliban captured control over most of Afghanistan say they do not want to return despite facing financial hardships here.
Many of them, who came to India days before the fall of Ashraf Ghani’s government in Afghanistan, is making ends meet by working in local shops and restaurants.
“I came to India for studies on Aug. 10, I have my family back in Afghanistan, and I am facing a huge financial crisis here, and to survive and make a living, I am working in a restaurant here,” said Haroon, a 25-year-old who arrived here just five days before the Taliban takeover.
He said the situation in his homeland is terrible as many businesses have been destroyed, and monetary support is crumbling.
“Till the time Taliban controls Afghanistan, I will not return. If they see my visa from India, then I will be in trouble,” Haroon said.
“Situation is not right there, six months back it was fine, but after that, Taliban attacked those who were wearing the uniform,” said Shakib, 27, who was employed with the Afghan Police escaped to India a few months ago. “I had no option but to escape the country. I don’t have much work here, and the rent of the accommodation is also very high, but I’m still happy with the Indian government.”
The Afghan national does not want to return to his home country until the Taliban is in control.
Narrating his ordeal, Nasib, a 24-year-old who arrived in India on Aug. 13, said that he fled the country after hearing that the Taliban started capturing big provinces like Herat and Kandahar.
“Earlier, we had worked in Afghanistan before the Taliban takeover, but after they came to power, we had no work,” said Nasib.
“I don’t have much money. I am surviving on whatever money I brought with me. I will not go to Afghanistan till Taliban is there.”
Meanwhile, the Taliban, which captured Kabul on Aug. 15, has delayed announcing the government formation in Afghanistan.
(With inputs from ANI)
Edited by Saptak Datta and Ritaban Misra
The post Northern India’s Refugee School Faces Uncertain Future As Funds Dwindle Amidst Afghan Crisis appeared first on Zenger News.