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Task Force helps strengthen education

By Sgt. Wayne Campbell | | August 19, 2003

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Members of the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa, along with members of the community, dedicated the newly renovated Ambouli Primary School in a ceremony Thursday.
Marine Brig. Gen. Samuel T. Helland, commanding general, CJTF-HOA, began the ceremony with a speech to local leaders and residents.
“It is an honor and a privilege to dedicate this school to the community,” said Helland. “Education is the most important thing we can offer our children, so they can prosper and grow to be better citizens of your country.”
Helland also thanked and praised the teachers of the community.
“We owe a lot to the teachers,” Helland said. “They set the conditions to provide the children with an education.”
At the end of Helland’s speech, he thanked the community for allowing the task force to partner with them and allowing the renovation of the school.
“As our two countries come together in education, we all agree that our societies will prosper through education,” said Helland.
After Helland’s speech, a local leader spoke to the crowd of approximately 35 people.
“On behalf of the community I would like to thank the generosity of the U.S. military,” said the leader. “I ask [Helland] to pass on our thanks to the servicemembers who helped make the renovations become a reality.”
The school’s director also spoke during the ceremony.
“The U.S. military answered our call,” said Khadria Ali Said, director, Ambouli Primary School. “The parents and children thank you.”
The project was successfully completed due to the closeness and cooperation of the neighborhood and the partnership of the school, said Said.
A local government official gave the final speech of the ceremony.
“Thank you on behalf of the government, especially the community at Ambouli, and the 11 other surrounding communities,” said Souleiman Omar, a local government official. “Thanks to the U.S. government.”
According to Omar, he was not a scheduled speaker for the event, but could not help himself after seeing the grandeur of the renovations.
“It is a pleasure for me today to say that any trace of the floods are no longer visible thanks to the efforts of the U.S. military,” said Omar.
The renovations of the    school began April 6, by local contractors hired through the task force, in an effort to put jobs and money into the local economy.
The renovations included the repair of the perimeter wall and gates, installation of ceiling fans and lights in every classroom and a new water tank was installed for the latrines and kitchen.
The local contractors also put a fresh coat of paint on all of the walls and leveled the playing field for the children, as well as constructed awnings to give the children shade during the hot days.
The project was completed June 29, with a total cost of approximately $140,000.
“This will be a great place for learning,” said Helland.

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