Birir School Project


For a number of years both the Kalash and Muslim communities in Birir have requested that they should have their own High School in Birir. The only High School in the valleys is in Bumburet. Fathers do not like their daughters going to stay in another valley, especially if they have no relatives there. Plus there is the cost of travel and hostels.

The classrooms would be built just above the village of Grubinasa in central Birir. This is the village where our Field Director lives in the summer so it will be easy to constantly monitor construction. The idea is to have a natural (a la Kalash) building similar to the community school, which is situated in the same site. The land belongs to one of the three brothers of the Field Director’s Kalash family.

For a High School to be accepted by the government it has to be built to certain standards and criteria. In this case there have to be six classrooms, library, staff room, kitchen/chowkidar house, washing and toilet facilities. One classroom can double as a lab and art room.

Both our Field Director and our Kalash engineer, who we have worked with before and who owns the land on which we wish to build the school, immediately thought of using the existing facilities of the community primary school as a base, as there are already four classrooms, a small office, four latrines and a small kitchen. While we are building the two classrooms etc, the school can continue and again if the community desire, we can turn it into a middle school.

It is proposed that we build the new facilities over three seasons. This year, we can start on the first and main classroom and kitchen/chowkidar house. Already KEPS (Kalash Environmental Protection Society) is engaged in building a retaining wall, with government money (see funding) for protection of the school and, in 2009, with its government funded pipeline project, provided good clean drinking water for the school.

Proposed site with one of the primary school classrooms in the background.

Due to inflation and the time scale, the buildings have been costed on the high side particularly in the case of timber.

Note: The Kalash Environmental Protection Society is a Pakistan registered NGO which works in close association with HKCA. 


      Costs and building plan

Background Notes

1: In 2009 KEPS installed a clean water supply – Cost £200 funded by the Government of Pakistan

2: The existing primary school was at risk due to erosion so HKCA/KEPS put a project to the Government of Pakistan for the building of retaining walls to protect the site. This was accepted and work started in June 2011. Cost £7,300 funded by the Government of Pakistan



The Nullah alongside the site subject to flooding and erosion where the retaining walls will be built.




New school build plan

Year 1:          Dig trenches and build foundations for first classroom. Cost including collection of stones, masonry work etc £2,500 already funded.

Build walls of first classroom etc. Cost £2,500 required by September 2011.

Year 2:          Build second classroom. Cost £5,000 required by April/May 2012.

Year 3           Build washroom, teacher’s staff room etc. Cost £5,000 required by April/May 2013

Grand total: 1914223 Rupees (£13,973)


Note: At the time this estimate was prepared the £ Stirling/Pakistani Rupee rate of exchange was 135Rs to £1. A detailed breakdown of the costs that make up this project are available on request.


The start of the foundations for the new classrooms in July 2011.

Maureen has been travelling back and forth to the Kalash Valleys and to Birir in particular finalising plans for the school buildings. On her first visit the local people were calling her their “Leader” remembering the great work she did in getting food aid into the valleys last autumn after the floods.

HKCA has been able to provide a small budget of £1000 for spending on special needs patients mainly to cover transportation to the hospital in Chitral. She currently has four patients requiring help including a 12 year old boy with a badly broken thigh who fell from a tree in Birir. He had an operation on 21 July to have a pin inserted and now his upper leg is in plaster. He will be here for quite a while.

Other patients needing assistance include Gul Nisar, an elderly woman who has a blocked heart and needs a goitre operation; Kata Sing, a famous Kalash elder who cannot walk as his knees are so bad and a young woman with gyny problems who we have to bring down for a minor op. Faheem is keeping a tally and we shall send details when we have something concrete to report. We are telling all patients they must pay for their own food.

The patient’s budget is over and above the Dispensary Project funding. Funding of the schools project is being treated as a special ring fenced project for which at the time of writing, £2500 has been specifically raised and we need to raise a further £2,500 by the end of September.

We have been very aware from comments in emails from Maureen and others in Asia of the rocketing inflation that has been taking place over the past two years and asked Maureen to do a short piece on this for the newsletter. She did not think you would believe her! She therefore asked her office manager Fahim Badshah to do it.

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