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Apr 22, 2019

AlAqaba Kindergarten's family is growing!

Thanks to your generous and continuos support, AlAqaba Kindergarten is still standing, and the number of children in the kindergarten has doubled!  The Kindergarten is now welcoming 165 children everyday, they come from Alaqaba village and nearby villages and Tubas.

"The kindergarten staff along with the local council are working on developing more programs for children, to develop their personalities and skills," said Mayor Haj Sami, "along with the rehabilitation of outdoor play area."

You might remember that our kindergarten was in crisis when the Palestinian government opened a new kindergarten just ten minue from the village.  The fear was that parents would opt for the new place.  The Al Aqaba Kindergarten redoubled their efforts to reach out to parents.

"Parents from 4 nearby villages bring their children to AlAqaba Kindergarten, they trust the way we treat kids and teach them," one of teachers commented.

Currently the Al Aqaba's Al Haq Kindergarten is in need of your financial support to maintain the outstanding services offered, since parents are paying only small fees that cover only part of the expenses.

With your help, and generous donations, we can keep this place running, serving the people of this area and keeping the village safe from demolition.

Feb 7, 2019

2019 #ICareAboutPeace Congressional Briefing

Our team at Capitol Hill after the briefing!
Our team at Capitol Hill after the briefing!

Dear Friend, 

As RA's new Communications and Advocacy Manager, it is my pleasure to announce that the 4th #ICareAboutPeace Congressional Briefing, held on February 5th on Capitol Hill, was an absolute success! 

This year's briefing marked many firsts for Rebuilding Alliance. For the first time ever, the event was publicly sponsored by Senator Diane Feinstein. In addition, we were granted an extra hour of briefing time which we used to host a teleconference with human rights experts  Dr. Yasser Abu Jamei, Executive Director of the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, Ms. Tania Hary, Exec Director of Gisha, and Architect Alon Cohen Lifshitz, of Bimkom: Planners for Planning Rights. They spoke about the situation faced by the people of Palestine and suggested tangible ways that Congress could intervene on behalf of Palestinians. 

Most importantly, Rebuilding Alliance was able, for the first time, to bring a teenager from Gaza City and her mother to speak about their experiences and what peace means to them before Congress in Washington D.C. Lama and her mother Amal were joined 16-year-old Aysar, 11-year old Ahmed, and Ahmed's mother Heyam from Susiya. These brave youth speakers and their mothers shared heart-wrenching stories about their life experiences and inspired our audience with their visions of peace. Children from Medina Montessori school also attended to present Congress with their Pinwheels for Peace. 

“I want Congress to keep my village safe and standing,” said Aysar, age 16, from the Palestinian Village of Susiya who has participated before.  Because Senator Feinstein took action, Susiya’s demolition orders were put on hold last year.  

This extraordinary event was attended by the staffers of nearly a dozen Congressional representatives, as well as constituents — and our Facebook Live broadcast, moderated by a wonderful team of English and Arabic speakers from We Are Not Numbers, received fantastic engagement.  Watch the link below to view an excerpt of 14-year-old Lama from Gaza City's speech.

Thanks to the hundreds of constituents who sent emails to invite their members of Congress, we're doing our best to arrange meetings with Senators and Representatives — and also looking forward to taking the children to see the sites. Soon, we'll begin our road trip, the #ICareAboutPeace speaking tour, all the way up to Boston. If you're in the DC area or on the East Coast and would like to host a house party or speaking event, or just want to join us for a visit to a museum or the zoo, please be in touch.

None of this would have been possible without your generous support. Your donation truly made a difference and on behalf of our delegation of speakers and Rebuilding Alliance, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. 

Sincerely, 

Katlyn Murray

Our team visits Capitol Hill before the briefing!
Our team visits Capitol Hill before the briefing!
Our brave Palestinian speakers!
Our brave Palestinian speakers!
Ahmed visits Senator Feinstein
Ahmed visits Senator Feinstein's office
Ahmed and Aysar get to see the cockpit!
Ahmed and Aysar get to see the cockpit!
Medina Montessori Students Pinwheels for Peace
Medina Montessori Students Pinwheels for Peace

Links:

Nov 26, 2018

The ONLY home finance program in all of Area C

First option for Khan al Ahmar Master Plan
First option for Khan al Ahmar Master Plan

Dear Friend,

Our Rebuilding to Remain program was wonderfully well-received by the Palestinian Monetary Authority who assured us that by partnering with Al Aqaba's Housing Cooperative to allow them to issue loans to their members, our program is in full compliance with Palestinian law. 

We hoped to attract seed funding from Palestinian banks, but we learned that funding from them for even a small amount would put their banks at risk of retaliation. That's because all transactions in the Palestinian economy are in shekels and must be processed through Israeli banks.  Since home construction financing in Area C would not wait for approval by the Israeli Army (they have not been approving master plans), this financing program would put the Palestinian banks at risk - and that is a risk they cannot take — but we can.

The villagers in Al Aqaba have continued to build and many have nearly finished their new homes.  New demolition orders have not been issued.  Remarkably, Mayor Haj Sami was successful in evicting a settler group who moved in nearby.  

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al Ahmar is offering to move their village a few hundred meters in accordance with the wonderful master plan they've developed.  They will need financing to build the eco-friendly, traditional homes they dream of, and also the stables for their sheep and goats.  They are visiting Al Aqaba and we'll work with them to set-up their Cooperative Housing Association too.

Instead of waiting for banks and other large orgs to provide funding for our Rebuilding to Remain program, let's draw upon the safest form of investment: one another.  Please chip-in what you can afford — we'll leverage your donation and move Rebuilding to Remain forward and expand to include more families and more villages.

Thank you for believing in us.

Sincerely,

Donna

Inside a tent home in Khan al Ahmar
Inside a tent home in Khan al Ahmar
Al Aqaba today - building continues =)
Al Aqaba today - building continues =)
Khan al Ahmar today - room for improvement
Khan al Ahmar today - room for improvement
 
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