Eugène Bellemare Announces $400,000 to Help Children in Afghanistan Receive an Education

(99-77) News Release
December 8, 1999
Ottawa -- Eugène Bellemare, Parliamentary Secretary to Maria Minna, Minister for International Cooperation, today announced that the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) will provide $400,000 to CARE Canada to help over 8,000 primary school children, particularly girls, receive an education in Afghanistan.

Mr. Bellemare made the announcement on behalf of Maria Minna, Canada's International Cooperation Minister, during a speech to delegates at the sixth Afghanistan Support Group meeting held in Ottawa today.

"Afghanistan has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world," said Mr.Bellemare. "It is extremely difficult for all children, especially girls, to receive an education. This project will help communities in their efforts to provide education to their children."

CARE Canada will help communities implement primary education in over 100 schools in Afghanistan. It will improve the quality of learning by providing training courses for teachers, as well as school supplies for students. In addition, CARE Canada will assist communities by helping them to organize, establish, and manage their schools through Village Education Committees. It will also provide construction materials to build 30 new classrooms.

The on-going civil war in Afghanistan has made access to education very difficult for most children, particularly girls. Under the Taliban regime, access to education for girls is extremely difficult, with only 5 to 7% going to school. Nevertheless, aid agencies have been able to support primary education, particularly in rural areas.

Funding for the initiative announced today was provided for in the February 1999 federal budget and is therefore built into the existing fiscal framework.


Robin Walsh
Office of the Minister for International Cooperation
Telephone: 819 953-3160

Media Relations Office
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
Telephone: 819 953-6534

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=A9 Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 1999