Regina school for Muslim students eyes expansion
It started small, but after 10 years, a school serving Regina's Muslim community is bursting at the seams.
It's Regina Huda School, a semi-private pre-kindergarten-to-Grade-12 facility in the city's north end that's funded by the province and through tuition payments.
When it first opened, it had 30 students, but now it's up to around 325.
To make room, three trailers that double as temporary classrooms have been moved on to the school grounds.
Diba Chowdry, who's in Grade 7, says Muslim students come to Huda school are happy to have a place where their religious customs are integrated into the education system.
"In public school, I didn't wear a hijab and I didn't know most of my religion, I only [knew] the general things," she said.
"It's better here because I can actually relate to the people here." The surge in the school's population mirrors the city's big increase in immigrants from Muslim countries over the past decade.
The downside is that it's heartbreaking to have to put children on a waiting list, said principal Carla Natrasny.
"It's really difficult to tell parents who show up at the door with their children in tow thinking that they'll register and the child will start school immediately ... that they can't," she said.
The school's board is raising money to build on to its current building, but doesn't know when that will happen.
In meantime, Chowdry says, she has family as far away as Bangladesh who would love to move to Regina if there was room in the school.