Newly Dedicated Schoolhouse Opens Education Opportunities for Djiboutian Children

DJIBOUTI CITY, Djibouti (Nov. 9, 2011)  †Ambassador Geeta Pasi, U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Djibouti, hands a backpack to a student at Ecole de Quartier 5 in Djibouti City, Djibouti, November 9. U.S. service members from Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa donated 400 backpacks to the students to help prepare them for class. (Courtesy Photo) CJTF-HOA Photo DJIBOUTI CITY, Djibouti (Nov. 9, 2011) †Ambassador Geeta Pasi, U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Djibouti, hands a backpack to a student at Ecole de Quartier 5 in Djibouti City, Djibouti, November 9. U.S. service members from Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa donated 400 backpacks to the students to help prepare them for class. (Courtesy Photo)
DJIBOUTI CITY, Djibouti (Nov. 9, 2011)  †Ambassador Geeta Pasi, U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Djibouti, reads with a student from Ecole de Quartier 5 in Djibouti City, Djibouti, November 9. Although the dedication ceremony for Ecole de Quartier 5 was in November, the school has been open since October 1. (Courtesy Photo) CJTF-HOA Photo DJIBOUTI CITY, Djibouti (Nov. 9, 2011) †Ambassador Geeta Pasi, U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Djibouti, reads with a student from Ecole de Quartier 5 in Djibouti City, Djibouti, November 9. Although the dedication ceremony for Ecole de Quartier 5 was in November, the school has been open since October 1. (Courtesy Photo)

Djiboutian and U.S. representatives gathered at the Ecole de Quartier 5 School in Djibouti City for a dedication ceremony, Nov. 9.

The school, which was originally built and further renovated with assistance from the Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa, provides primary education for 400 children, ages nine through 11.

"This school represents improvement of school conditions, a way to progression and a total education community," said Moussa Ahmed Hassan, Djiboutian minister of education.

The schoolhouse construction project, undertaken by Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5, attached to CJTF-HOA, was completed in the fall of 2011.

"It's a great emotion to see the school full of children and eager to learn," said Elyas Hassan Aden, Ecole 5 de Quartier school director. "We at the school and in the community are very happy this project is done. We are proud of it and grateful to the United States for their help."

Although the dedication took place in November, the students have been attending class since Oct. 1. The school gives Djiboutian students the opportunity to study French, Arabic, mathematics, Islamic culture, history, geography, science and physical education.

"Education is very important to the future of Djibouti, as well as the future of democracy," said Geeta Pasi, U.S. Ambassador to Djibouti. "Djibouti is a young nation with a young population helping themselves build a brighter future."

U.S. Army Brigadier General William Glasgow, CJTF-HOA deputy commander, attended the dedication ceremony and said he was proud of the work Djibouti and U.S. service members put forth to create an educational institution for the Djiboutian children.

"This school is a testament to the cooperation between the United States and the Djiboutian government," said Glasgow. "It has been a lot of hard work and a lot of effort. But it will help the children. This country's future is its children."

After the dedication ceremony, U.S. service members from CJTF-HOA donated 400 backpacks to the students. Pasi said this gesture was exceptionally meaningful to the local Parent-Teacher Association, which worked to ensure the children were prepared to attend class once the school was finished.

"Many of the parents in the association were not afforded the opportunity of a formal education," said Pasi. "This school gives the children a chance for something better - if they study hard."

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