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School-in-a-Box Helps Children in Quake-Hit Kashmir

A year after a powerful earthquake devastated South Asia's Kashmir region, UNICEF is providing a unique kind of emergency relief: its School-in-a-Box program.

Each aluminum box contains classroom supplies for up to 80 students, and 10,000 kits were distributed in Pakistan over the past year. The 110-pound boxes are often carried by donkeys or small boats.

The culturally neutral materials include writing utensils, notebooks, rulers, counting blocks and posters, says Ellen van Kamthout, UNICEF's senior project officer for education in emergencies.

Weeks after last fall's earthquake largely destroyed Government Girls Higher Secondary School Gojra in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan, it reopened with the help of UNICEF tents and, for the younger girls, two School-in-a-Box kits.

Hundreds of girls continue to attend lessons beneath the Gojra School's tents.

And although life in Muzaffarabad remains far from normal, teacher Shagufta Sheikh says education lifts her students' spirits.

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