Tags / Primary School
Class is back in session at Peshawar's Army Public School, the target of a brutal attack by Taliban militants that killed 141 people in mid-December. Parents and their children were eager to tell media that despite the attacks, they are not afraid and that their children shouldn't have to live in fear in order to get an education. A ceremony was held as schools across Pakistan re-opened after an extended break in the wake of the attack.
In the morning on Dec 16, 2014 six Taliban fighters entered Peshawar’s Army Public School under orders to let the youngest children leave and to kill everyone else. The killing spree took the lives of 141 people, among them 132 children. This was the latest in a years-long string of attacks against Pakistani civilians and military and government institutions, starting with the alleged assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007. The Pakistani Taliban’s targeting of educational institutions, however, is not new, including an attack on a school bus in 2011, the attempt on the life of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai in 2012, and now the tragic killing of over a hundred students in the Peshawar school.
Gul-e-Khandana, a school teacher, helped save the girls school she taught in from the destruction of the Taliban. During their short rule in the Swat Valley, the Taliban attempted to burn the school down. Gul-e- Khandana is now the head teacher in the same school after peace was restored in the area.
A girl prays during the morning school assembly in a small village called Sijban, deep in the Swat Valley. Gul Khandana, a school teacher, helped save the school from the destruction during the Taliban's short rule, during which they attempted to burn it down.
Headmistress Gul Khandana prays with her students during the morning assembly in Sijban, a village deep in the Swat Valley. The village and school were threatened by violence from the Taliban during their short rule.
Head teacher, Gul Khandana oversees the morning assembly with her students. The Taliban threatened to burn the school down during their short rule.
Swat Valley, Pakistan.
School teacher Gul Khandera’s stubborn resistance to the Taliban has made her a heroine in her hometown of Siljbon, and a voice for girls' education rights in Pakistan. The school where Gul Khandera was teaching, which also happens to be the school where Gul herself was educated, was threatened by the Taliban because it had female students.
Gul Khandera's refusal to comply with the Taliban's demands made her a personal target, forcing her to move to Mardan. When the Taliban were ousted from Swat, Gul returned and was relieved to see that her school had not been destroyed. Now a considered a hero, Gul has become headmaster of the school and is working to re-establish education for girls in the Swat Valley.