School Safety Day marked with Nationwide Events by AKAH Pakistan, in Collaboration with NDMA, Education Departments, and School Community

Islamabad: (PR) The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) Pakistan, in collaboration with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Government Education Department, and school communities, marked School Safety Day on 16 May 2024, with a series of impactful events nationwide. The event held in Islamabad Model School for Girls G9/3 graced by the esteemed presence of Idress Mehsud, member Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) – NDMA and Nusrat Nasab, CEO Aga Khan Agency for Habitat Pakistan witnessed an advocacy gathering, attended by representatives from the government education department, AKDN agencies, partner organizations, students and media officials.

In 2008, the Aga Khan Development Network together with the government of Pakistan organized an international conference on School Safety in Islamabad. The conference advised celebrating school safety day on May 16 each year to create awareness about the importance of a safe and secure learning environment. Since then, the day is celebrated every year on 16 May with the aim to raise awareness about the critical importance of fostering safe and secure learning environments. Since its inception, AKAH Pakistan is committed to promote school safety, engaging both government and private educational institutions across the country.

In her address to the gathering, Nusrat Nasab, CEO, AKAH Pakistan, emphasized, ” On the National School Safety Day, AKAH Pakistan reaffirms its commitment towards creating safer learning environments for a resilient future. Recognizing that children are the cornerstone of our nation’s future, it is our shared responsibility to ensure their safety within schools. We must collaborate to remain vigilant, raise awareness of localized hazards, ensure structural safety and integrity, and provide comprehensive training to school communities.”

In his speech, Idress Mehsud, member Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) – NDMA  shared that, “In light of the 2005 Kashmir Earthquake, which tragically claimed the lives of many, including schoolchildren and teachers, the nation has recognized the critical importance of disaster preparedness. Training is essential for ensuring personal safety and saving lives during emergencies. NDMA,  AKAH Pakistan and other humanitarian organizations are dedicated to nurturing safety and resilience in future generations by educating and training young children, thereby contributing to the creation of an environment conducive to their growth.”.

Pakistan stands among the countries most vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change. Given the escalating risks posed by natural disasters, seismic activity, and potential man-made hazards, safeguarding the safety and resilience of educational institutions has become paramount.

Through concerted efforts with the government education department and other stakeholders, AKAH Pakistan has reached over 1500 schools, training more than 40,000 students on disaster education and response. Additionally, over 3000 teachers have been trained, and more than 18,000 school safety committees have been formed. With the generous support of various donors many vulnerable school buildings in Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral have undergone retrofitting, while schools in southern regions have gained access to Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) facilities and safe drinking water.

As part of the School Safety campaign, seminars were also conducted in Karachi, Gilgit, and Chitral, alongside celebratory events at the school level. These initiatives underscore the collective commitment to fostering a secure and inclusive environment for children to thrive and learn.

The commemoration of School Safety Day serves as an opportunity to reflect on the lessons learned from recent disasters, enabling stakeholders to refine strategies and ensuring an environment conducive to the holistic development of our nation’s youth.

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