March 15 2002
Emergency relief for Afghan refugees continues in Pakistan
15/03/2002 - An SOS Medical Centre, a temporary school and two playgrounds in refugee camps near Peschawar will be inaugurated on 19 and 21 March 2002. SOS-Kinderdorf International Ambassador Princess Salimah Aga Khan and senior Pakistani representatives will attend the openings.
Further concrete measures have been launched to help children in need since the official permission to carry out an emergency relief programme in December 2001.
On 19 March, a playground will be opened in the Azakhel refugee camp, which is located 25 km east of Peschawar. The aim of this project is to offer a leisure-time activity to the many children, who have been living in the camp for weeks and months in very difficult conditions. Play and fun can also help them to overcome the trauma of the war and loss of their homes.
Princess Salimah Aga Khan, the SOS-Kinderdorf International Ambassador for Children, will take an active part at the opening. Princess Salimah has been a supporter of the organisation for years and was officially appointed as Ambassador for SOS Children's Villages in November 2000 at the inauguration of a Tibetan SOS Children's Village and an SOS Hermann Gmeiner School in Gopalpur, India.
On the morning of 20 March 2002, Princess Salimah Aga Khan and the Governor of the North West Province as well as the President of SOS Children's Villages Pakistan will inaugurate the SOS Medical Centre in Peschawar. The emergency relief facility will provide basic medical care for Afghan refugees, above all for children and single mothers. 50 beds are available for in-patient treatment, and up to 300 patients can be treated daily.
In the afternoon, the opening of a second playground will follow at the refugee camp in Badaber, which is situated close by.
During her visit to Shamshatu, the largest refugee camp situated 45 km south west of Peschawar where around 70,000 people are living in small mud huts and tents, Princess Salimah Aga Khan will open a temporary school. SOS Children's Villages will offer classes to provide children with a basic education. The school will be open all day and will teach up to 500 pupils daily. For many children who have been in the camp for a long time, this is a welcome activity. The first SOS Children's Village playground was opened in Shamshatu last year on 20 November to mark the International Day of the Child.