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Teaching English Becomes Soldiers' New Mission In Afghanistan

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The first all-girls class enrolled in Operation Cat in the Hat sits and listens as Bloomfield reads a book to them. (Photo Courtesy: Master Sgt. James Wooding, U.S. Air Force) The first all-girls class enrolled in Operation Cat in the Hat sits and listens as Bloomfield reads a book to them. (Photo Courtesy: Master Sgt. James Wooding, U.S. Air Force)
The first class of boys enrolled in Operation Cat in the Hat. (Photo Courtesy: Master Sgt. James Wooding, U.S. Air Force) The first class of boys enrolled in Operation Cat in the Hat. (Photo Courtesy: Master Sgt. James Wooding, U.S. Air Force)

News9.com

PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – The soldiers with the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team now have a new mission in Afghanistan, reading children's books to local kids to teach them English.

The popular children's book, "Cat in the Hat", is now an operation name. The soldiers read English books to children at Bagram Airbase, Afghanistan, to help them learn English, according to Maj. Lindy I. White with the 45th IBCT.

According to White, Operation "Cat in the Hat" opened its doors to local children on October 13. There were 21 boys and 19 girls in the first two classes who received curriculum in English.

"The students were very excited about their first day and couldn't contain their smiles," said 1st Lt. Elizabeth Bloomfied of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, manager of contracting with the 45th IBCT.

According to White, the operation originally started after the local elders asked American soldiers to help teach their children English.

One of the teachers, Bloomfield, has a degree in education and teaches kindergarten through eighth grade in her civilian job in Iowa.

"This experience will help my wife and I to be better teachers," said Hedayatullah, a local English teacher from the village. "We appreciate the lessons we are learning from Ms. Bloomfield."

White said Hedayatullah and his wife continue to gain experience through this reading program.

According to White, the program is well received by the local Bagram community and soldiers have been told by the Afghans that a hundred more parents want to enroll their children.

"One day, I want to see more schools for my village to make education better," said Hedayatullah. "The parents are very happy and thank us for teaching English classes."

The school operates on donations to the program.

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