New Security Wall and Play Area
In 1996, Christian residents of Gokuwal, a poor area on the outskirts of Faisalabad, Pakistan, requested the De La Salle Brothers to begin a school for their children as the children were not receiving any education. Several parcels of land were subsequently purchased around the original building and the enrolment and the facilities at the school have grown steadily. The final land purchase was completed in 2022, and this enabled the school to erect a new security wall around the expanded property and plan for new classrooms, bathrooms and a playground.
The construction of the security wall was followed by excavation of the site so that the land could be levelled and covered with soil. Thanks to funding of AUD 50,000 received from fundraising activities by staff and students at St Michael’s College Adelaide and De La Salle College Malvern, the project was eventually completed in April 2023 after overcoming challenges due to unseasonably wet conditions, water drainage and negotiations with neighbouring landholders.
In Pakistan, erecting security walls and providing a security presence at the entrance to schools is essential, particularly for Christian schools which have been the subject of attacks by Islamic militants in recent years. La Salle Girls’ High School is now surrounded by 8 foot high brick fencing and topped by barbed wire. The students now have their own playground as a result of the land acquisition and security fence. The school is adjacent to a very poor neighbourhood and a new gated community with more affluent residents.
La Salle Girls’ High School currently has about 400 students. It is co-educational from pre-school to Grade 7, and then offers a high school education for girls (and a few boys) in Grades 8-10. Single-sex education is the normal practice from Grade 7 onwards. Girls generally have less opportunity for high school education, and La Salle Girls’ High School is a response to this very real need. The primary purpose of the school is to educate students from the neighbouring poor neighbourhood. However, given the increasing reputation of the school, it is possible that children from a new gated community near the school may also seek enrolment, thus broadening both the social mix of the school and providing a new source of income for the running costs of the school
The Brothers, staff and students are very pleased with the developments occurring at La Salle Girls’ High School, and acknowledge and thank the staff and students at St Michael’s College Adelaide and De La Salle College Malvern without whom the erection of the security wall and the levelling of the grounds would not be possible.