Norwegian Refugee Council helps to make schools safer in Iran

May 28, 2022 - 17:26

TEHRAN – The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) is undertaking disaster-risk reduction (DRR) activities to ensure the safety and security of children in Iranian schools.

Iran is the third most earthquake-prone country in the world and it experiences, on average, 100 earthquakes every month. While the magnitude of most is small, others have been significant. For instance, in 2018 an earthquake of magnitude 6.4 hit Kermanshah and in 2003, a 6.6 magnitude earthquake caused 34,000 deaths in Bam, Kerman province.

Schools should be safe places so that children are encouraged to learn. If they do not feel safe or comfortable, they might stop showing up to their lessons. While we cannot stop earthquakes from occurring, we can work with students and teachers so that they know how to stay safe when an earthquake hits. 

Disaster-risk reduction (DRR) activities are part of a pilot project that NRC is conducting with the generous support of the European Union Humanitarian Aid. So far, 17 schools have benefitted from such interventions. These schools are now safer places for children and their teachers. NRC looks forward to scaling up DRR interventions in the near future.

NRC has now equipped a school in Mashhad with fire alarms so that children can evacuate in case of a fire and no child would be hurt, which has the potential for disasters beyond floods and earthquakes.

Built over thirty years ago, and with no standard heating system and broken windows that could not be repaired in recent years, Shohadaye Enghelab school was not safe for its 300 Afghan and Iranian boys aged 12 to 15.

Some 527,000 foreign students are studying in Iran, the majority are Afghans and the rest are from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iraq, and other countries, Abolfazl Kamali, the deputy minister of education for international affairs and schools abroad, stated.

Iran spends about 20 trillion rials (nearly $77 million) every year on the education of foreign national students residing in the country, head of the international affairs department of the Ministry of Education Gholamreza Karimi said in March 2020.


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