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Opening Afghanistan Schools

Opening Afghanistan Schools

Super: "If you want to build anything, you've got to build the literate population." —Maj Nina D'Amato, USMC

Super: Helmand Province, Afghanistan 2010

Marine: Get up, move!

Super: After the Battle of Marjah, the Taliban continue to fight for control of southern Afghanistan.

2ndLt Joel Detrick, USMC: Southern Marjah has been specifically a very kinetic area, and many people have been afraid to send their children to school because of the threat from the Taliban.

Super: Female Engagement Teams (FETs) perform key outreach with Afghan women and children.

Marine: Now this one came. Come here, you.

Marine: What's she saying?

Woman: One of her sons died because he had a heart problem.

Sgt Christina Scott, USMC: When we go out, we talk to locals, and they perceive us a lot better than they perceive the males. You just see them relax when we're around.

Super: Besides gathering intel and building trust with locals, FETs help open makeshift classrooms.

Marine: Finally the big day is here. We get to open the school. We're sure the kids are really excited to be here.

Super: Teaching hygiene, language and reading, Marines empower Afghans through education.

LtGen Richard P. Mills, USMC: The example that the female members of my unit set, I think is truly a great tool working towards a Democratic, open society, and that's one of the goals we're trying to get to.

Super: As security and stability in Helmand Province increase, Marines build more schools.

Cpl Richard Valdez, USMC: It started off with 120 kids or so. To see close to 400 kids now is just amazing.

Maj Nina D'Amato: This is a huge success story. We're talking about a 450% increase in attendance and a 100% increase in access to schooling.

LtGen Richard P. Mills: To see the school open is a big day for Marjah.

Cpl Vicky Oliver: The fact that they're so happy to come and so eager to come here and learn something is the greatest thing in the world.

Announcer VO: Facing a dynamic enemy, an outstretched hand and an open mind are often the strongest weapons against terror.