Girls attend class at Fatima Jinnah Government Girls Primary School, a ‘child-friendly’ school in the city of Sheikhupura in Punjab Province. UNICEF provides the school with educational and recreational supplies, hygiene kits, water and sanitation facilities and a teacher-training programme.
In April 2006 in Pakistan, UNICEF assistance includes increased support for girls’ education, the rehabilitation and reintegration of unaccompanied, orphaned, trafficked or exploited children; educational and vocational training for children who live or work on the streets; and support to child labourers and their families. UNICEF is also supporting the Government’s ‘Welcome to School’ campaign to rebuild the education infrastructure and boost enrolment in areas affected by the 8 October earthquake that killed over 73,000 people, and left 3 million homeless. The campaign aims to enrol students, especially girls, in higher numbers than before the earthquake. UNICEF has supplied ’school-in-a-box’ kits and helped set up more than 3,000 temporary schools, serving 260,000 children in the affected areas. Throughout Pakistan, UNICEF is assisting efforts to narrow the gender gap in education – one of the highest in the world – through community mobilization, including the introduction of ‘child-friendly schools’, teacher training and improvement of physical structures, with special emphasis on water and hygiene facilities for girls. Child-friendly schools promote free, compulsory education for all children in a safe, clean learning environment that engages parents and the community, and respects diversity and the rights of the child.