School supplies for Palestinian refugee children in the occupied territories

 

April 12, 2006

For the last four years a member of our Alliance, Mai Abdul Rahman, has organized a drive to collect school supplies for Palestinian refugee children. This year WIAMEP is pleased to cosponsor this drive. We believe this project offers a dual opportunity:

With respect to the first objective, we encourage those who attend churches, mosques or synagogues to present this project to their religious education staff or committee. The project offers a unique opportunity to educate our children (and their parents) on the conditions Palestinian children face under Israeli occupation. Lesson plans are posted at http://www.wiamep.org.

American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) will be selecting particularly needy Palestinian refugee schools in the West Bank and will be responsible for delivering the school supplies to these schools. ANERA has been operating in this region since its founding in 1968.

School supplies donated may include: pencils, erasers, sharpeners, maps, note books, safe children's scissors, pens, crayons, coloring pencils, coloring books, folders, pencil holders, glue sticks, back packs, book bags, and small pocket dictionaries.

Please bring your school supplies donations to one of the following locations:

Deadline for contributions: June 15th.

For more information please contact:

Mai Abdul Rahman by telephone at: 202-362- 9174; or by e-mail at: spotlightoneducation(at)yahoo.com

            I do hope you will contact the religious education organization of your church, mosque, or synagogue or any other organization that would be interested in assisting in this project. As an endnote to this letter I have included some authoritative information on the severe economic and social conditions faced by Palestinian children.

 

Information on Conditions faced by Children in the Palestinian Occupied Territories

 

● 2005 World Bank Report:

 

“Closures continue to fragment Palestinian social and economic space.  Palestinians’ inability to trade and access markets has resulted in a severe recession in the years 2000-Although the economy stabilized in 2003 and slightly grew in 2004, it has not yet regained its 1999 levels. The Palestinian Authority, municipalities and NGOs, with extensive foreign assistance, have been able to maintain delivery of core services. Inevitably, however, standards of service have declined as a result both of access restrictions and strained public finances. Social protection instruments are insufficient to effectively alleviate poverty; it is estimated that 40 percent of the Palestinian population live under the poverty line, of which 16 percent below the subsistence level. In spite of large and relatively effective humanitarian assistance, coping strategies for the poorest segments of the population are being stretched increasingly thin. School enrolment remains high at 88 percent for basic education, but crowding and a deteriorating learning environment are worrisome trends. Infant mortality, morbidity, and malnutrition in children and women are on the rise, compounded by high rates of stress-related behavior and trauma without an adequate response by deteriorating public health programs”. 

 

●2002 John’s Hopkins University Study

In a 2002 study prepared by Johns Hopkins University and others for the U.S. Agency for International Development and Care International the study concluded “malnutrition among Palestinian children under 5 in the Gaza Strip and West Bank has reached emergency levels and ranks among the highest in the world as a result of security measures imposed by the Israeli military….Professor Gregg Greenough of Johns Hopkins University schools of medicine and public health in Baltimore, one of the participants in the research… stated that 22.5 percent of Palestinian children suffer from acute or chronic malnutrition.”

 

●UNICEF:2005

The year 2005 is the fifth successive year of crisis and the situation in the West Bank and Gaza continues to be characterized by ongoing violence, restrictions in movements and serious economic decline.  The situation has led to the worst recession ever experienced, with 64% of Gazans living below the poverty line and around a quarter living in deep poverty.  The combination of significant distress and long-lasting effects of rising poverty and unemployment is having an extremely negative effect on all basic human development indicators and put the psycho-social well-being of children under significant strain. …. The chronic consequences of the conflict, due to closures, barriers and movement restrictions, result in a fragmentation of society, impoverishment and increased aid dependency.  This is why UNICEF interventions are more needed than ever.

…. in psychosocial, some 3,500 children have received individual and group counseling following either incursions or other violent events. In addition, 5,000 caregivers have been equipped with skills to detect and address distress among children and how to deal with their own stress. An additional 1,000 caregivers are reached each month.

 

●UNICEF: 2002

A month into the Palestinian school year, the UNICEF Special Representative in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Pierre Poupard, today expressed serious concern over the number of Palestinian children being prevented from attending school by Israel-imposed restrictions.

"Right now the Israeli military is preventing thousands of Palestinian children and teachers from attending school," Mr. Poupard said. "A generation of Palestinian children is being denied their right to an education."

While UNICEF noted that most Palestinian children have either returned to school or are receiving alternative schooling, it said that more than 226,000 children and over 9,300 teachers are unable to reach their regular classrooms and at least 580 schools have been closed due to Israeli military curfews, closures and home confinement.

●Associated Press: April 5, 2006:

“Palestinian Authority out of Cash.” Tens of millions of dollars in aid being withheld by international donors from the Hamas led Government.