Bamyan Province is considered one of the poorest regions in Afghanistan; the the primary income comes from 80% agriculture and farming related commerce. It is located high in the Hindu Kush which Marco Polo called the “rooftop of the world”; most people grow potatoes. The Provincial seat Bamyan Village has two public schools – girls and boys – both are low quality where many teachers are not certified; some do not come to school to teach. In 2010 a local leader Amina Hassanpur formed Baba School with an initial student body of 26 children to provide quality education. In 2015 the students moved into a large new building funded by an American friend of the school, Mary Jae Abbit, who had earlier worked in Bamyan with USAID. Today Baba School (Grades K-10, where girls and boys attend class together) has grown to 274 students! An active PTA meets quarterly, and all teachers are certified; children have access to a computer lab, library, outdoor gym. With enough stoves to keep the classrooms warm in winter, students can learn year round. Baba is a “green school” with solar panels providing electricity to run the water pump, classroom lights, PCs, etc. The children and teachers learn together about ecological conservation via planting and maintaining a small green house and many fruit trees, as well as recycling all school waste into compost. Approximately 20% of the students come from very poor families, and are selected by the Provincial Education Department to attend Baba School on need based scholarships.
2017 Academic year:
The Bamyan Foundation team met Mary Jae Abbit in June 2016, during which the idea of a scholarship program was discussed after introduction of the Bamyan Baba School. Mary Jae played a central role in the founding of this progressive school in Bamyan, Afghanistan. The Bamyan Foundation team held multiple skype phone conversation with the school founder and principal Amina Hassanpur and finalized a scholarship program based on merit and financial need.
The Foundation covered full tuition for 3 girls and 3 boys at Baba School (see their group photo below). The total cost amounted to $1,110. Please find the student biographies under ‘Our Students’ page.
2018 Academic Year:
The Foundation provided 32 scholarships to students at Baba School. The total cost amounted to $5000 to cover 17 full and 15 partial scholarships. Among the recipients are 18 boys and 14 girls.