Dear Friend, Of all the work Rebuilding Alliance has done, our most important project has been the Kindergarten of Al Aqaba. It keeps the whole village standing, attracts the further investment of 20 countries, and is a model for all our work -- but most importantly, our kindergarten provides 160 children with a wonderful education. Our kindergarten opens its door to the children of Al Aqaba, the nearby villages who don't have kindergartens, and to children who live in the Jordan Valley countryside. Your donation opens the doors to families who cannot afford the modest tuition."Your help gives all children the valuable opportunity to walk on the path of education," said Mayor Haj Sami Sadeq. "The kindergarten would struggle to stay open were it not for you." Al Aqaba's Village Council and Al Aqaba's Rural Women's Association thank you for your donations. With your help, through the scholarship grants program, the kindergarten fees for 20 children were covered through the end of November. They believe in your generosity and ask you to continue your support in the months to come.
We are so proud that this project qualifies for the Microsoft Youth Spark Matching Grant offered on Giving Tuesday! On this Tuesday, Microsoft will give away $350,000 in matching grants for each donation up to $500 per project. Please set your alarm as Microsoft YouthSpark will match for Rebuilding Alliance’s project, Dollar for Dollar, starting at 6am PST/ 9am EST and again at noon Pacific / 3pm EST.
The kindergarten now faces a real challenge in the way that it pays teachers. Miniumum wage has gone up in Palestine but the basic fees for the kindergarten remain fixed at 100NIS (New Israeli Shekels) per month. Teacher salaries need to more than double to meet the national standard. Our team is developing a grant proposal to ask foundation to help address this — I promise to forward a copy in the month to come.
The future of these children and this village starts with the journey of knowledge — it is their highest priority. Your donation opens a road of peace and hope. Please donate again on Giving Tuesday. Thank you.
After six long years working through endless details, I am so pleased to tell you that our Birthing Equipment made it through Israel’s Customs and is now in the care of the Rotary Club of Ramallah!
“This makes me incredibly happy,” said Al Aqaba’s Mayor Haj Sami Sadeq, on hearing this good news. “I remember our meeting with Rotarian Sophia Omar in Palo Alto in 2008 when I learned about her successful effort to open a 2 room clinic in Afghanistan that is now the biggest hospital in Afghanistan." So exciting to see inspiration become reality.
Dr. Jamil Daragmeh, the Deputy Minister of Health in Tubas, has hired three women doctors who are ready for ultrasound equipment training at the new Birthing Center in the West Bank Jordan Valley town of Ein Al Beida. In addition to the Birthing Center, the project also includes the Prenatal Clinic in Al Aqaba. This is a part-time clinic and the Palestinian Ministry of Health is giving Al Aqaba the ability to invite visiting staff in addition to training the part-time staff on site.
The distinguished training team includes Palestinian-American doctors who will be flying-in all the way from the country of Chile. Assist International, our partner in this project, has connected with a distinguished team of doctors and sonographers from Chile — they are standing by to fly to Palestine and begin training.
“I sincerely appreciate the generous donations of everyone who made this dream happen: the Rotary Clubs who provided grants for the Birthing Center equipment and all the Rebuilding Alliance donors who helped provide additional equipment for Al Aqaba’s Prenatal clinic and for the costs of training,” said Mayor Haj Sami. “Al Aqaba’s people have had no one to give them these basic health services — this prenatal clinic will help save lives!”
Now here is a question for you, Gentle Donor. Would you like to tour the Holy Land to join in the opening ceremonies at the Birthing Center and the Prenatal Clinic? We’ll be hosted by the Rotary Club of Ramallah and the Rotary Club of Nazareth and the visit will include the festivities at our clinics in the Jordan Valley and also tours of Ramallah, Nazareth, Jerusalem and Bethlehem. I'll have tentative dates read soon — Please send me email or give me a call at 650 325-4663 if you would like to join us.
Thank you again for making this project possible.
Good news! The Ibn Rush'd Library has expanded!
"We expanded the library by moving the wall out over the walkway and also upgrading the restroom," said Mayor Haj Sami. "We will buy new books soon."
I am sending you photos of Librarian Kefah reading to a class of kindergarteners. Librarian Kefah is now signed-up in Beyond Access, a movement of people and organizations committed to the idea that modern public libraries help drive economic and social development. My daughter, Andrea Walker, took these pictures when she came to Al Aqaba with me in May.
Regarding the Ibn Rush'd Entrepreneurship program, the young people are eager to move forward with their frozen vegetable company. It seems like a good idea — but before committing funds, the next step is to develop a business plan. We have been looking for a mentor to help the young people and also to help the Rural Women's Association press forward with their respective business plans. Also, yet a third proposal is coming forward to both groups: goat-milk ice cream!
In September, I facilitated a panel discussion at the recent Social Capital conference in San Francisco (SOCAP'14), focused on construction financing in the West Bank's Area C. Through that presentation, we found our way to the Middle East Investment Initiative and their Techical Assistance Program (TAP) funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). This might be just the group to mentor Al Aqaba's youth entrepreneurs.
The Technical Assistance Program is provided without fees to Palestinian small businesses including start-ups. Priority is given to East Jerusalem, Gaza Strip, and Area C of the West Bank. Here are the objectives:
We look forward to connecting everyone and sending you their business plans in our next update!
I sincerely thank you for your support of both the Ibn Rush'd Library and the Ibn Rush'd Entrepreneurship Program. Your donation has opened an important and exciting door for these students. We are all very grateful for your support and we look forward to keeping you updated as new connections are made and their business plans take shape.