IL 06 - SOWING PEACE STARTING FROM CHILDREN
The biblical village of Bethany, called in Arabic Al-Azareyah (Place of Lazaro) is today a small Arab city of East Jerusalem, which has about 40,000 inhabitants (Azareyah/Abu Dish). Until the construction of the "Security Wall" (begun in 2004) it was considered a suburb of Jerusalem. Today Al-Azareyah is located near the largest Israeli settlement in the West Bank: Maale Adumim; its inhabitants need special permits to access the city of Jerusalem, through two military checkpoints.The Israeli strategy of closing the borders with the total closure of different zones, the construction of the Security Wall, called "protection", but used as a wall of "Separation" and the suspension "for security"Palestinian workers still have serious effects: the significant increase in Palestinian unemployment. About 28% of the inhabitants of the Occupied Territories are unemployed and 60% of the families live in poverty.Inserted in a context of maximum political instability and immersed in the intricate Arab-Israeli conflict, the community of Bethany rises in the shadow of the "Security Wall'' that marks the life of the inhabitants of the neighborhood and divides in two the community and the village. Before the Wall was built, most of its inhabitants worked in Jerusalem. The difficulty of obtaining entry permits in the city is at the root of a severe economic and social crisis in the area, aggravated by the problems of access to educational and health services. The majority of the inhabitants of Bethany are Muslims. The small Christian community suffers twice the consequences of this situation, which lasts over time.
The Santa Maria Kindergarten in Bethany follows the school legislation and the syllabus established for kindergartens by the Palestinian Ministry of Education. The tuition course is 25 hours per week (5 days) and the school year consists of 32-34 weeks. The nursery school of the Comboni sisters stands in the area of the so-called "occupied territories". The erection of the Security Wall led to the closure of the ancient road from Jerusalem to Jericho and the partition of the village of Al-Azareyah (half in Israel, half in Palestine). This meant that for the majority of children attending kindergarten it was impossible to continue to take advantage of this educational offer.In the final phase of the construction of the wall, with some "humanitarian pressure" on the Israeli military, It was possible to open a window in the wall so that the children could pass in the school yard and complete the school year. It was hoped that that window in the wall could then become the checkpoint from which the Palestinians of the village of Al-Azareyah, children and not, would pass to go to Jerusalem. In fact, the "window in the wall" (temporary solution) was closed and to this day even the checkpoint that flanks the kindergarten is not in use, simply is guarded by a military patrol.As a result the children from Al-al-Azareyah attend the Comboni kindergarten, take two buses and with the adults accompanying them they queue at the checkpoint away from the kindergarten about half an hour. Among the negative consequences of the wall of "separation" placed between Israel and Palestine, there is also the impossibility of encounter and exchange between the two peoples.
From 2004 until today, there is now a generation of children, on both sides of the wall, condemned by the phobia of adults, not to know and not to meet, not to exchange dreams for the future and not even their stories of fear and oppression.
The general and specific objectives of the project will be achieved through several teacher workshops. There will be 3 workshops/ meetings per year and two moments of exchange and reflection together. Educational activities for children, provide for the retraining of teaching tools available to teachers: use of media and purchase of new tools. Exploratory-didactic methodologies will be implemented through trips or educational visits suitable for the cognitive development of children.
Muslim and Christian religious celebrations, birthday celebrations remain as relevant educational-educational moments and relational growth. As regards the administrative organization, the nursery school is managed by an administrator and coordinator of the teaching work; two teachers are responsible for the two classes of pupils. A collaborator works in the care and cleaning of the rooms. The project in the financial aspect also includes the wages and transport of these school workers. For the 2022-23 school year, 44 children are enrolled. There is a need to buy new furniture and desks given the increase in the number of children.Given the increase in the cost of living and the price of transport, we believed it right to increase the salary of teachers by a minimum percentage. For teachers' workshops, as well as for celebrations, the project includes expenses for speakers, varied material and refreshments.
- Foster the growth of the child in its different dimensions through education in the emotional-relational, moral and religious values common to different religions, as well as physical education, nutrition and hygiene
- Develop the child’s growth through the teaching of ordinary school subjects: Arabic, English, mathematics, art, music, song-dramatization, dexterity
- Exploring the surrounding reality-space through instructive trips
- Consider the process of perception and identification of the other as a "friend/ enemy" and enhance or direct positive behaviors for peaceful coexistence.
- To foster moments of knowledge of others, to grow in the discovery/appreciation of the gifts of others.
Direct Beneficiaries: 44 children aged 3 to 5
Indirect: Their families and communities
Referent sister of the project: Sr Annamaria Sgaramella