Responding to the pressing need of the grassroots communities in northern Pakistan communities of the Baltistan area of giving children access to education, GRACE Association Pakistan, together with its partners, the Himalayan Green Club Japan built new school building in Astana Skardu and inaugurated on April 4, 2009. Local communities of Astana donated 2 kanals land worth PKR 3 million (US$ 3750) without any compensation for construction of the school. With close guidance and supervision by the Board of Directors of GRACE Association, the school project was running by the Village Education Committee (VEC) represented by parents, village elders, social development workers and the school’s Principal.
The School is located at the centre of the Astana village Skardu in Northern Pakistan, on the Main Airport Road, surrounded by a beautiful green landscape and rich fruit trees. The distance from the Skardu Airport to the school is 8km and from the school to Skardu is 4km.
The GRACE Public school began its work on 2007, in a rented old home. However, an earthquake-proof and barriers-free school building was a burning need. It was necessary to promote education not only for girls but also for children with disabilities, dropouts, and children belonging to 13,000 displaced populations that had settled in Astana and its surroundings after the India-Pakistan Wars of 1965, 1971 and 1999. Furthermore, it was also essential to strengthen community cohesiveness.
GRACE Association Pakistan was successful in acting upon the objectives of the school which is now successfully function and providing primary education to children of not only Astana and neighbouring villages but to all coming from around Skardu district.
The project was possible thanks to a partnership with the Himalayan Green Club NPO, through an invaluable grant donated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.
GRACE endeavours to empower and improve the quality of life of the marginalized and vulnerable communities in the least developed parts of Pakistan through welfare, participatory research and development, capacity building, promotion of best practices and partnership building, advocacy, and by launching sustainable and replicable innovative projects.