Children of Iraq’s Kawliya group return to school after 14 years

Based on inputs by Shahid Kazi

Children of Iraq’s Kawliya group (known as Iraqi gypsies) have finally returned to school. In al-Zuhoor, they finally have an elementary school again – nearly 14 years after the village’s only school was ransacked and destroyed at the hands of an Islamic militia.

The school was reopened with the help of U.N. children’s fund UNICEF after a campaign started by civilian activists on Facebook called I am a Human Being. It is made of a cluster of caravans provided by UNICEF on Al-Zuhoor’s outskirts.

The school has 27 children aged six to 10 and a teaching staff of a headmaster and two teachers. Headmaster Qassim Abbas Jassim said the school and the village suffer from a lack of electricity and safe drinking water.

Manar al-Zubaidi, representative of the I am a Human Being group who lobbied for a year for the construction of the school, urged the government to grant the Kawliya Iraqi nationality to help their children continue with their studies and get jobs.

The Kawliya speak Arabic and profess belief in Islam. Most originated in India, although a few came from other Middle Eastern countries

Speaking at a function last week, the PM Modi had said, “Such incidents shake our sensibilities. I want to assure the nation that no criminal will be spared. Justice will be done. Our daughters will get justice.” . This ordinance was cleared within hours of PM returning from his tour