Dear Friends, We are delighted to watch 15 young people, all from Al Aqaba Village, move forward in the Ibn Rush'd Entrepreneurship Club! They formed the club just before the April Youth Spark competition and here we are with another Bonus Day this week.These high school graduates (some already in college) are coming together to build one or more businesses that will provide them with jobs. They meet at Al Aqaba's Ibn Rush'd Library. First, Librarian Kefah held meetings with local experts to to help the students learn how to come up with good business ideas. At both the cheese and tea factories, they interviewed the managers and discussed marketing and management. They also met Mayor Haj Sami Sadiq and Raheya Alsbaih, director of the Rural Women’s Association, both inspiring leaders.
Then Librarian Kefah invited them to brainstorm their own business ideas. Among the many projects they thought of, the frozen seasonable vegetables seemed suitable for its minimal budget and resources, especially since the Goat Cheese Factory is receiving new freezers. Meanwhile, interest is growing around the possibility of bringing a high quality ice cream machine to Al Aqaba for goat milk ice cream. Their next step: to learn how to write a business plan. Meanwhile, Librarian Kefah is working to complete her training as a librarian. She recently completed training at the Al Bireh Public Library, a remarkable library in the large town next to Ramallah. She has also been joining cultural training programs in the nearby villages of Tamoun and Al Far'a.
Good news. This Wednesday June 25th is a bonus day with a dollar for dollar match for donations up to $1000. On Wednesday, Microsoft Youth Spark is giving away $200,000 in matching funds via GlobalGiving — I think the match will go in the first 5 minutes.
If you would like to give, please mark your calendar for Wednesday, June 25th and set your alarm for 9:01am Pacific, 10:01am Mountain, 11:01am Central, or Noon:01pm Eastern. Please click Ibn Rush'd Entrepreneurs Program for Area C Youth to give.
As always, please call me if you have questions or suggestions. My phone number is 650 325-4663.
A week ago Sunday, we met with Ms. Kefah Akram, the new librarian at the Ibn Rush’d Library in Al Aqaba. Raheya Alsbaih, director of the Rural Women’s Association, joined us as did Josie Shields-Stromsness who drove up from Bethlehem for our meeting. Josie is part of the Middle East Children’s Alliance and works with a number of library projects in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza.
This day, May 16th, was the 11th anniversary of Rachel Corrie’s death in Gaza and we are here in this little village facing demolition orders on nearly all the buildings. We marked her anniversary by meeting to explore how to use the funds you’ve donated to best help children and youth through this wonderful library. We also used our meeting to develop our scholarship program for kindergarteners (but I’ll leave that for a separate report). Al Aqaba is holding steady through their good work, your support, and everyone’s intervention. I hope Rachel would be proud of our work.
Let me tell you more about our meeting and our follow-up visit the next day:
Just before our trip, Rebuilding Alliance’s Board approved the transfer of a grant of $4,326 for the Ibn Rush’d Library. Half of this will cover Kefah’s salary for the year, and the other half will be used to expand the wall of the library onto the covered porch to make the library bigger and include indoor access to the restroom. Mayor Haj Sami asked me to help make plans for Kefah’s library training at the AlAnwar Children's Library in Hebron.
Do you remember that the Ibn Rush’d Library project has been accepted into Microsoft Youth Spark grant program? On April 16th there will be a Bonus Day with Microsoft matching 50% to each dollar donated — please mark your callendar.
It was really fun to use our meeting to brainstorm about the entrepreneurship program for young people that the Ibn Rush’d Library will be offering as part of the Youth Spark grant. The next day we went on a Field Trip to Canaan Fair Trade to help Librarian Kifah learn more about entrepreneurship by seeing how wonderfully successful Canaan has become. Founder Nasser Abufarha will be returning next month and would be pleased to host a group of students to tell them how he came up with the idea of Fair Trade Olive Oil and what it took to get this wonderful business started. Librarian Kifah asked a ton of questions and got to thinking about a list of speakers. She'll send us her plans soon.
We also noted that the computers in the library are not currently connected to the Internet, in part because the mayor is afraid that everyone will just be on Facebook, not doing any real learning. To overcome that fear, we proposed uploading the offline educational content offered by www.worldpossible.org
Lastly, we asked Librarian Kifah and Kindergarten Director Raheya Sbaih to become members of the Beyond Access organization in the hope they can receive scholarships to attend their annual international conference this year or next.
Thank you again for your incredible support. Again, please mark your calendar for April 16th and give as early as you can that day to benefit by Microsoft's 50% match.
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