Zeinab, a sister to six brothers, sits proudly in her renovated classroom. “Our school has transformed”.
“The school’s conditions were horrible in the past; we only had one bathroom serving the whole school, we had no courage or mechanism to deliver our complaints and no one was listening to us”.
“My School and I” project, which aims to improve the learning environment in 20 schools in Minya and Beni Suef, was implemented in Zeinab’s school.
She and her colleagues are jubilant about their school’s makeover.
Their words are full of ownership and pride. “Now we have new water faucets, new bathrooms, a complaint box that is frequently checked by the administration and a child protection committee to ensure our safety”.
The project’s best achievement according the sixth grader is the teachers’ new teaching techniques; “I used to be afraid of speaking myself out or asking any questions because the teachers would scold me or even hit me at times, but this has changed”.
No one can do this now as I would immediately report it to the protection committee that would take a firm action against the aggressor.
“We have noticed that our teachers are more patient now and are more open to listen to our discussions and answer our inquiries”.
Zeinab also felt a change in reduced discrimination between girls and boys at the school; “I love to play basketball, Before the project, girls had less privileges and weren’t allowed to play sports in the playground. The project helped the school’s administration and students to overcome this injustice, and now we have the same rights to play sports during activity classes, just like boys”.
After attending the project’s sports days and being involved in different team building activities, she believes that she became a better team player and started cooperating with her colleagues more.
Zeinab dreams to become a doctor and wishes that the school would have a library where she could spend her free time reading and learning.