Angelina Jolie-Funded School in Afghanistan Opens Its Doors

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 Balkis Press/ABACAUSA.COM

Thanks to UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie, a new primary school for girls in Tangi, Afghanistan is ready to welcome 800 students, according to a UNHCR statement. (See more photos of Jolie with her kids at PopSugar.com.)

Following a 2008 visit to a refugee settlement in Afghanistan's eastern Nangarhar province, Jolie donated $75,000 toward the school's construction; the facility features eight classrooms, a well and eight latrines, and is set to begin classes next Monday, when their school year begins.

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Although UNICEF built classrooms in the area accommodating 1300 students two years ago, many parents hesitated, for cultural reasons, to send their daughters to a school also used by boys.

A 14-year-old girl named Laila (her family returned from Pakistan in 2008) expressed her excitement about the new school. "I always had hopes and dreams of going to school," she said, adding that "the hope to become a qualified teacher has revived in me."

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Laila's father, Ustad, a former teacher, enthused at the opening ceremony, "This is what we needed here and I believe there is a need for every community if we want to build the future of our country — to build schools and get education."

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Igbal Azizi, head of the region's provincial education, stressed the importance of Jolie's gift. Tangi girls, he said "otherwise would have been deprived of education."

Jolie, filming The Tourist in Venice, Italy, was not on hand for the new school's celebration.

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