(MENAFN - Pajhwok Afghan News) KABUL (Pajhwok): The foundation stone of the first-ever school for Sikh and Hindu students has been laid in eastern Nangarhar province, the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA) said on Thursday.
Governor Gulab Mangal, SCA head for the eastern zone Abdul Ahad Samoon and Sikh community head Mir Singh laid the foundation stone. A ceremony for the school was attended by education ministry and other officials in Jalalabad.
Upon completion of the school building 60 students would be shifted from the temporary school which is established in the temple in the heart of the city, a statement from SCA said.
The school will be second of its kind in Afghanistan. One has already been constructed in southern Ghazni province by the Afghan government, said Kalantar, Mir Singh, a Sikh community leader.
Funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the school with six classrooms, a library, separate offices for the principle and teachers, five toilets and desks and chairs will be completed within six months at a cost of 8.9 million afs.
The school would be handed over to the community in September this year, says Eng. Abdul Ahad Samoon, SCA head of office in the eastern zone.
Iqbal Singh, principle of Baba-i-Kabeer primary school, said five years back, the government had approved their request for the construction of school building, but the promise was yet to be kept.
A non-government organisation supported them in running a primary school that was temporary established inside a temple.
'We had 130 students, but most of them have moved to Kabul, as Jalalabad lacks a proper school for them. The only school in the temple is educating children up to 5th grade, says Iqbal Singh.
'Currently there are 60 students including 25 girls enrolled in the primary school. We are thankful to SCA for the initiative to construct a school for our community,' he added.
In the not-so-distant past, 10,000 Sikh and Hindu families lived in Nangarhar, but the number has now come down to 160 families. Many of them have left Afghanistan for India and European countries, Iqbal Singh explained.
Kalantar, Mir Singh, the Sikh community elder, said in past, they had to admit their children in government schools. Dr. Bhuget Singh, Dr. Jetandar, Dr. Krishan Lal and others graduated from government schools and universities, later served the government as health professionals.