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A story of one of mothers I met (Palestine)
an article by Ayman Qwaider

In the Gaza Strip, a tiny piece of land, there is a drastic blockade imposed since 2007. This blockade has a negative impact on the education sector in Gaza in many different way. For instance, the closure of the borders has prevented construction materials from entering Gaza and this prevents the education agencies from building new schools to accommodate the growing number of students. Beside that, Gaza has witnessed dramatic wars in 2009 and 2012 which caused both physical and psychological damage to education infrastructure. In the 2009 war on Gaza, over 180 schools in Gaza were either totally or partially damaged, not to mention the massive lost of teachers and students.


Ayman and Khadra

click on photo to enlarge

Recently, a school bag distribution project has been implemented across the Gaza strip districts and refugee camps. About 300 young children have benefited from the project. Bait Hanoun neighborhood, marginalized area, has been targeted by the project where 100 children received school bags.

I participated in this distribution project and here is the story of one of mothers I met.

Khadra is a sole breadwinner of a family of 8 members. All of her dependents are either university or school students. I have dedicated my whole life to secure better future for my children. I believe Education is the only glimpse of hope we Palestinian mothers are left with in order to provide for our kids. Education is important due to the prolonged occupation as our economic, industrial, and agricultural systems have been destroyed leaving education as our best investment. I took three transportations to arrive to the distribution center and receive the school bags for my kids. I have two children in the primary level and will dedicate my effort, time and energy to let them pursue higher education.

Education can always play profound role for communities affected by armed conflict. It constitutes a window of hope to construct a better tomorrow. Since I have returned to Gaza, I have worked in different education projects in which it has positive impact to help children afford the hard circumstances under prolonged occupation, policy of isolation Israeli blockade- and internal political conflict. Needless to say, Palestinians are left up with no alternative to survive except investing in education. The Israeli occupation has destroyed the economic and agriculture systems in West Bank and Gaza. Nevertheless, despite the different israeli policy to deprive palestinian children education like blockade over borders of Gaza, hundreds of checkpoints in the West Bank, Palestinians have demonstrated a full capacity to continue education because they believe it is only sort of hope and empowerment.

For photos of the event, click here.

DISCUSSION

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What is the relation between peace and education?,

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Letter from Mohatma Gandhi to Maria Montessori.

To Madame Montessori

Even as you, out of your love for children, are endeavoring to teach children, through your numerous institution, the best that can be brought out of them, even so, I hope that it will be possible not only for the children of the wealthy and the well-to-do, but for the children of paupers to receive training of this nature. You have very truly remarked that if we are to reach real peace in this world and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with children and if they will grow up in their natural innocence, we won't have the struggle, we won't have to pass fruitless idle resolutions, but we shall go from love to love and peace to peace, until at last all the corners of the world are covered with that peace and love for which, consciously or unconsciously, the whole world is hungering.

Mohatma Gandhi, Young India, 19-11-''31


This report was posted on August 24, 2013.