The need for support in Palestine is greater than ever. Life under occupation is an ongoing struggle, however the Palestinian spirit is indomitable.
Trustees’ Report, November 2016
In October, trustees Maggie Foyer, Noirin Azzouni and Andrew Eastaugh visited Burin Community School with Abdel Karim Dalbah, our local fixer, to meet Abu Ameer, the Headmaster. The huge playground is soon to gain a basketball court with the area behind destined for a football pitch and a new canteen being built by the entrance. Abu Ameer noted that Burin was now ‘on the map’ in terms of aid (hopefully we have had some influence here), and Burin Village Council has pitched in to collaborate with other agencies.
Ongoing projects 2016 – 2017
The astroturf football field to be funded by the Chinese Government even inspired a visit from the Chinese ambassador to Palestine. We have funded the now completed awning beside it (see Completed Projects). Our fixer, Abdel Karim, dealt with the receipt of funds in the Village Council bank account, payments for the materials and assembly of the awning. He is paid a fee by the trust for overseeing our input.
During our visit Abu Ameer showed us with pride the 15 new computers that had been bought with money donated by his son and other Burinites living in the USA. The energy and initiative that he is showing in sourcing donations is impressive.
A new project for 2017 – English language books
We attended the English language class where one of the older pupils, a very confident young woman, was conducting the class. She put us on the spot by asking us to relate a Sherlock Holmes story which we muddled through. The English teacher, Munir Shehadeh, told us about their shortage of English literature books; the library (see lbelow) looked decidedly shabby. The main hurdle is to get books out to the West Bank. (October 2017 update: see Completed Projects for news on dozens of successfully delivered books).
A visit to Madama Boys’ School in 2016
On October 6th 2016 we visited Ayed Al-Qot at the Madama Boys’ School. Since our last visit the school has been redecorated by the Palestinian Authority, a great improvement on the sad old building. We were shown the impressive new science laboratory which we had contributed to as our first project. Since then new granite worktops had been donated by the South African government.
Our visit was a very positive experience partly thanks to Ayed’s pride in these improvements, creating a more hopeful environment than previously. It definitely felt like our input, encouragement and donations have made a difference.
A visit to Madama Girls School in October 2017
During the 2017 harvest, we were delighted to meet the new headmistress of Madama Girls’ School, the dynamic and super-organised Nawal Mahmoud Rabaya. We learned that there are 375 students (including 24 in the kindergarten) and 22 teachers. Although grades and averages are high, their big drawback is the lack of a science stream and of course the pitiful budget from the Palestinian Authority.
Despite that, the school looked impressive, partly because Nawal has already built up successful connections with World Vision and Norway Council. Trustees discussed her school’s needs with her at length and, before leaving the region, agreed to contribute towards an item at the top of her current ‘wish-list’, namely a dozen CD/tape-recorders to be used for lessons.
The next item may be a large metal podium to be erected in the playground for speeches and general assemblys. Start saving?
Outside the school a coach-load of excited girls was about to set off on an excursion, while in a classroom some younger ones happily stood up and sang for us. The spirit and smiles of these children, despite the stress and limitations of their lives, are extraordinary.