As September begins, many of you will be preparing your children and yourselves for the start of the school year. The ritual is similar in most homes: buying new uniforms, shoes, stationery and school bags. These rituals, however, do not resonate fully in all households around the world, particularly in Palestine. In a country where life can be turned upside down in an instant, the Palestinian population, for decades, have struggled to fulfill the basic right to education. Palestinians, like many, know and believe that education is the path to enlightenment and a brighter future but unfortunately access to education has been made difficult for thousands living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories due to the occupation and war.
As a sign of the value placed on education in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, 89% of children are enrolled in primary school and youth literacy is at an impressive 99%. Clearly, desire and commitment are not lacking but many problems confront these young students on their journey through their education life. One of these is building rights; to build a school in Palestine, the Israeli government has to grant permission and nine out of ten of these requests are rejected. Many schools, homes and hospitals have been built despite applications for building permits being rejected. However, demolition of such structures soon follows. This occurred in July 2015, when the Israeli government announced its intention to destroy the small village of Susiya. The lives of these families are in a terrible cycle of rebuilding their homes and lives again and again. They can never have normal lives as long as this carries on.
Wednesday, 26 August, marked a year since the summer assault of 2014. The destruction that took place last year affected every aspect of the Palestine population and this, of course, includes education. In total, 138 schools were destroyed in Gaza during the offensive. This left thousands of children without access to their basic right to an education. It is not just during times of military conflict that access to education is limited; road blocks and checkpoints across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem make getting to school and university very difficult.
At Interpal, we remain dedicated to helping the Palestinian people access the education they seek. With our Back to School programme we will provide 5,000 children with school kits and uniforms, insha’Allah. School fees for refugee and vulnerable families are also provided, thanks to your generous support. This will also help to provide special needs education for those with learning difficulties as well as hearing and visual impairments in the region. Please click here to donate to our Back to School Programme. With your donations, you will be supporting the future generation of Palestinians to regain hope and stability.
Thank you for your ongoing support.