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Oct 1, 2020

New playground equipment!

Since the Spring, children have been adjusting to shifting between virtual and "real” school, missing their friends, and then learning to wear masks even when they can be together. When they were able to return to school this Fall, the children were greeted by their most-requested addition to their school day:  new playground equipment! The earlier playground equipment, which wasn’t accessible and was getting worn out, had served 25 years of Primary School students! Filled with joyous and fun-filled chattering in Hebrew and Arabic, playgrounds are nearly the only place where our students can do what children are supposed to do- PLAY! More equipment will be added this year as funding becomes available.

Like families around the world, some parents were furloughed from work and had great difficulty paying for tuition and transportation. Parents who could afford to keep one child in school spoke about needing to take the second child, or both, out. While the Primary School trimmed costs where ever possible, donors have been instrumental in supporting an unbroken education for families in need. A scholarship fund was opened to support 50 Jewish and Arab families facing extreme financial hardship to help pay for their school tuition and transportation. 

We are glad that all available places for the two classes of each grade 1-6 have been filled. That has raised, once more, the question of growing into a bilingual, multicultural middle school. Because several years of study have already been done,  the planning stage for this is likely to begin this year.

Jul 20, 2020

Humanitarian Aid to Gaza

Because of the  outbreak of the corona pandemic in March, Gaza has closed its border and is not allowing anything in or out, so we haven't been able to get the beds delivered.  The purchase order is ready and we are just waiting for permission to be able to get them to the hospital. 
In the meantime, Dr. Haj Yahya said he has just finished centralizing a list of new needs in wake of the coronavirus, so it is possible that although the beds are still needed, we will change the purchase order according to the priorities including respirators. 
Additionally, we are working with the Arava Institute in purchasing and transporting the water generator to the   Nasser Hospital in Gaza. 
Both of these have been significant  moral as well as practical support for the residents in Gaza. 
Jul 1, 2020

School for Peace Change Agents Course

Environmental Change Agents

Despite mandated closures and the impossibility of meeting in person, 18 Jewish and Arab professional
environmentalists, part of the 2019-2020 School for Peace Change Agents Course, used technology to learn from about “A Century of Energy: The Generation of Electricity between Two National Movements” and the impact of age, nationality, gender and social status in the current crisis.

The issue of language was raised. When you have lectures or dialogues intended for all participants, which language should be spoken? Should a translator be present? Where Jews and Arabs are planning or working together, it is an essential question for creating the future.

Recent SFP Change Agents projects have included connecting a Palestinian town to the national
electric grid, planning ‘wetlands’ waste treatment projects in towns that lack sewage systems in the
Palestinian Territories, developing organic seed exchanges for Palestinian and Israeli farmers.

Change Agent’s Program for Lawyers

The second cohort of Jewish and Arab Lawyers, focused on Human Rights, held its 2nd meeting at the end of February. Coming up next: a meeting with Ayman Odeh, head of the Arab Joint Political List, exploring a proposal to establish a new Jewish-Arab political party. Political journalist Meron Rapoport
spoke about the developing cooperation between Jewish and Arab national politicians and what he sees
as the fading Israeli identity, and the role of society and government.

Ongoing

The Change Agent program for leaders in mixed cities begins April 17, 2020. April 10th saw the
second meeting of the graduate Change Agents mental health professionals program. Change Agents
graduate planners, architects and engineers’ graduates are meeting with the Arab Center for Alternative
Planning. All are focused on real-time changes on the ground.

 
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