Education International
Education International

Pakistan: Teachers come to the rescue of flood victims

published 30 August 2010 updated 30 August 2010

With EI's help, three Pakistani teachers' organisations will support thousands of educators who lost their homes and personal belongings. They will provide up to 30,000 victims with aid supplies including clean water, clothing and tents.

The number of teachers in need of humanitarian aid is estimated to be almost 100,000. The Pakistan Teachers' Organisations’ Council (PTOC), the All Pakistan Government School Teachers’ Associations (APGSTA) and the Central Organisation of Teachers (COT) will use their extensive national networks to distribute aid, concentrating on the provinces of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtoonkhoa and Azad Kashmir which were worst affected by the region’s deadliest floods in 80 years.

The humanitarian aid program, for which EI has opened its solidarity fund, will be coordinated by the All Pakistan Trade Union Congress (APTUC), an affiliate of the ITUC. The relief program will also include health care services and trauma counselling for more than 1,000 victims.

EI’s General Secretary, Fred van Leeuwen and Chief Regional Coordinator, Aloysius Mathews, flew into Karachi on 27 August to help coordinate the response of educators to the crisis. Addressing teacher union leaders, van Leeuwen, said: "This program is more than a token of solidarity with our teacher colleagues in Pakistan. Teachers will play a significant role in Pakistan’s recovery from this crisis. They will be setting up schools in refugee camps and providing education in affected areas, so it is crucially important that we help teachers get back on their feet as quickly as possible."

Van Leeuwen and Matthews visited three refugee camps where they met several displaced teachers, some of whom have taken the initiative to start classes in the camps. Van Leeuwen added, “where possible, teachers should be encouraged to follow these extraordinary examples.” He encouraged the Pakistani teachers' organisations to urge public authorities to start developing education rehabilitation programs as soon as possible.

COT General Secretary, Shujat Ali, added: “We are determined to reach as many teachers as possible and are grateful to our colleagues from around the world for helping to bring some relief. So much is at stake because entire school systems have collapsed. Rebuilding these will give hope to millions of children across Pakistan and will require a major effort by all of us. We are ready for this challenge.”

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 2,863 schools have been washed away or severely damaged in just 11 districts in Punjab. The total number of destroyed schools is estimated at 5,000. Most national and international aid efforts are focused on providing medication, food, clean water and shelter to the 20 million displaced people, six million of whom are in need of urgent help.

EI’s General Secretary has called for more support from the international community for the people of Pakistan affected by the severe floods. If you would like to make a donation you can do so through EI’s solidarity fund. Please clearly mark your donation for the ‘Pakistan floods’ in any communication, and send to:

Education International “Fonds de Solidarité” ING Bank Rue du Trône, 14-16 1000 Brussels Account number: 310-1006170-75 IBAN: BE05 3101 0061 7075 SWIFT OR BIC CODE: BBRUBEBB