Rebuilding Alliance

Rebuilding Alliance is dedicated to rebuilding war-torn communities and bringing the world together to make them safe. Our vision is a just and enduring peace in Israel and Palestine with equal value, opportunity, and security for all.
Nov 28, 2016

When music sustains you

Our students are performing!
Our students are performing!

Rebuilding Alliance is so very proud to be partnering with the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music to bring music instruction to the children and community of Al Aqaba Village!

I recently learned that the visionary maestro who comes to Al Aqaba each week accompanied by the young cello teacher is a very famous man.  Mr. Mhammad Fadel is the founder of the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music!   Let's find a way to bring the gifted teachers and children on tour -- maybe they can play for Congress on International Peace Day this year!

Today, Giving Tuesday actually starts at 9:01pm Pacific time Monday! GlobalGiving is matching 50% on each dollar donated up to $1000. If you can make a donation, large or small, please do!

The musice program is in full swing in Al Aqaba and they students have already travelled to Bethlehem to hold a concert in early November!  They spent the night there and attended workshops at the Athear Center!

Here's how the music teachers describe the outcome of the music program in Al Aqaba so far:

  • 39 children were introduced to music education enhancing their music skills;
  • Al Aqaba children participating in ESNCM music performances;
  • Al Aqaba community more open to cultural life.

Maestro Mohammad Fadel writes,

"Through the outreach programs, there was a noticeable improvement in the psychosocial wellbeing of students, their personalities, attitude and behavior. They are happy to learn music. Moreover, students show a higher commitment towards music education and have developed the ability to perform to a diverse audience including their families and friends. Parents and families of students have more commitment towards music education of their children which is evident in their commitment to bring the children to music classes during the academic year as well as the summer program which often requires commuting from surrounding villages."

Here's the goal for the project going forward:

Relying on the cooperation with RA, ESNCM considers the outreach program at Al Aqaba, Tubas, very important in terms of targeting marginalized communities and expanding music education in Palestine facilitating access to music education and appreciation and positively impacting the subject community.

Phase two builds on the work done in the first year in Al Aqaba. It aims at sustaining and strengthening the music education program established during phase one of the project. The positive impact on the children of Al Aqaba and its community as well as the willingness of those children to be involved in music education is an opportunity that supports the continuity of the music education program.

The second phase focuses on enhancing the music education of the enrolled students and involves a weekly two-hour session The sessions will include full class work, ensemble work and small group technical study. The focus will remain on string instruments particularly violin and cello. Al Aqaba students will perform to their community and they will be involved in the other ESNCM activities particularly the annual showcase to present their work through the year which enables them to interact with other students from other areas and different levels enhancing their group performance skills as well as exposure to a different audience.

Tonight is a great time to donate!  Thank you again for your support!


Attachments:
Nov 28, 2016

A kindergarten, the heart of Al Aqaba Village

This scholarship means a lot to Gina
This scholarship means a lot to Gina

Dear Friend,

Thank you for your support for this important program!   This year, there are 140 students at the Al Aqaba Kindergarten and 20 children have been invited to attend on scholarship.  Each scholarship covers their fee of 100NIS ($26) per month and gives them full access to the wonderful environment of the Al Haq (Truth) Kindergarten including a nourishing breakfast.

I am happy to tell you that tonight, Global Giving will be matching all donations to this project starting at 12:01am Eastern Time Tuesday until the funds last.  Please click Give Now any time after 12:01am Eastern / 9:01pm Pacific time and your donation will be matched 50% to the dollar!

Mayor Haj Sami Sadeq worked with the Director of the Al Haq (Truth) Kindergarten to provide this report and sends the following message:

"This year, we chose 20 children for scholarship. They are in need of grant assistance because they are poor, orphans, handicapped, or those with chronic disease. Here are the first names of each child who was awarded a scholarship this year: Toliyn, Jod, Alkarim, Yousef, Madea, Qais, Oagdi, Mahmood, Asil, Zad, Mny, Anwar, Hussein, Aaman, Sidera, Agd, Abdllah, Farah, Saud, and Gina. We would especially like to tell you about Gina. She and her family face big challenges because her mother and sister are riddled with cancer. Her father does not have work other than in the fields and therefore can not pay the kindergarten fees.
At our kindergarten, Gina has encouragement and attention, a healthy meal, and a safe place to play.  Please tell Rebuilding Alliance's donors how very much your support means to these children and the whole Al Aqaba community."

I am also delighted to report that Al Aqaba's new park opened last spring, right next to the kindergarten.  Also, through grants from the Welfare Association and Anera, the kindergarten itself was renovated and a new playground installed at last!  Yet I must write too about the very real challenges Al Aqaba Village faced in the past few months.  A young couple's new, makeshift home was demolished just next to the village in September.  Especially sad was that diplomats chose not to intervene.  What that means for Rebuilding Alliance is that we will become more public now in our advocacy, using social media to engage the help of diplomats and legislators as we work to prevent demolitions.

Thankfully, the next crisis in Al Aqaba did receive U.S. diplomatic response.  Just after the demolition, the Israeli Army entered Al Aqaba Village and began training exercises, shooting from between the homes.  This was in violation of an agreement that the Israeli Army signed with Al Aqaba Village in 2001.  I reached the lawyer who negotiated that agreement and she immediately called the Israeli Army - the shooting stopped that day, but the next day they were there again, guns blazing, people terrified and some close calls.  I called Atty. Netta and I also reached the U.S. Ambassador's office who immediately intervened.  The shooting stopped, the soldiers left and this time they did not come back.  Since that time Atty. Netta has been meeting with all the villagers, local government representatives, and land-holders (even the office of the Latin Patriarchate is asked to join, as they are major land holders in this area) to assure the safety of families throughout the area.

Al Aqaba's Kindergarten provides a safe, wonderful place for the children to play, learn and grow.  It is the heart of the village.   Your support for this scholarship program makes that possible.  

Just $234 will provide a kindergarten scholarship to cover one child's entire year of schooling.  Our goal is to raise $4680 on Tuesday to cover the costs for all 20 children.

If you can, please give as early as you can in GlobalGIving's Bonus Day competition so that you donation will be matched. Thank you again.

Sincerely,

Donna

A busy day at Kindergarten
A busy day at Kindergarten
Learning to count and draw and write with beads
Learning to count and draw and write with beads
A good start for this scholarship student
A good start for this scholarship student
The kindergarten percussion orchestra begins
The kindergarten percussion orchestra begins
Balloons, teamwork, motor skills, and exercise!
Balloons, teamwork, motor skills, and exercise!
Nov 28, 2016

#HeresMyVillage Mapathons to put Palestinian Villages on Open Street Map, Google, and Apple Maps

Runners arrive at Apple, 9 miles from Google
Runners arrive at Apple, 9 miles from Google

Dear Friend,

This is our second update of three.  The highlight:  nearly 720,000 people viewed our Race to Recognize Palestinian Villages and now we ask your help to transform this energy into Here's My Village Community Mapathons as we continue to urge Google and Apple to Map Palestinian Villages. 

Please give on the GlobalGiving Bonus Day starting tonight at 9:01 Pacific, Tuesday Midnight:01 Eastern, and at Tuesday 7am Jerusalem time. 

#HeresMyVillage — what it will mean to see Palestinian Villages on Google, Apple Maps

Last spring, when we brought UN Habitat's expert to walk the halls of Congress, we saw there was something wrong with the base maps.   Somehow, Google and Apple had mapped all the Israeli settlements in the West Bank (and even the outposts), which are illegal under international law and violate official US policy, while erroneously depicting an empty Palestinian countryside! 

Rebuilding Alliance is in Silicon Valley.  We know and work in the villages, we know the mapping experts — if anyone could do this, it must be us.  We immediately began work through the summer, partnering with the Israeli human rights group, Bimkom: Planners for Planning Rights, to connect with Google and Apple.

The challenge for the Silicon Valley mapping community is to step back from mind-numbing politics and just show what is really there,” said Alon, the architect and urban planner who leads Bimkom’s analysis and assistance to Palestinian communities in the West Bank.

Together, we successfully transferred all the GPS data for the Palestinian villages in Area C to both companies in September including points and polygons in three languages. Strangely, Apple and Google would only communicate through Representative Eshoo and Representative Honda, with no word as to their implementation schedule.  So when Palestinian marathoners from the group Right to Movement asked if they could help, we jumped at the chance!

Rebuilding Alliance brought nine Palestinian marathoners on October 13th to run from Google headquarters in Mountain View to Apple headquarters in Cupertino in a "Race to Recognize Palestinian Villages".   They delivered letters addressed to the heads of the mapping departments requesting that the villages be added. The event was covered by the SF Chronicle. AJ+ made a short video about the race, which has been viewed over 715,000 times!  At our request, hundreds of constituents wrote to their members of Congress to ask for their help in delivering the message to Apple and Google leadership.  That prompted the U.S. State Department to get involved.

Good News: the State Department reported, “Both companies said there are no policy impediments to proceeding with adding the villages, only technical impediments. However, we have not received a  timeline."

Here’s where something remarkable happened: we were able to follow-up constituent messages to schedule meetings with Congress, especially valuable because Congress needs to see these maps too.   In a Washington that has changed dramatically since the election, Rebuilding Alliance brought the #HeresMyVillage Contact Congress tour to Washington DC on November 14th and 15th, with mapping experts from Bimkom and an artist advocate from Um Al Kheir, the West Bank village who has experienced repeated demolitions. We meet with 12 Congressional offices, both Senate and House, Democrat and Republican, visited the State Department and joined a mapathon to learn how Open Street Map works. While in DC, we joined in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux in their march to press the White House to stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

“Thousands of children and families in Area C of the West Bank (the territories controlled entirely by Israel) can’t locate their homes on Apple or Google maps, or on Waze (Google’s subsidiary),” said Nava, a GIS mapping expert at Bimkom: Planners for Planning Rights in her presentation at Congressional offices. “They are real locations – however, in the virtual mapped world of the Web, they simply can’t be found. In today’s online society, that’s as good as saying you don’t exist.”

When we reached Silicon Valley, Google and Apple declined to meet with us. Again, we delivered letters, this time hand-written by the distinguished artist who lives in the village of Umm al Kheir.

“We may never know why Google and Apple mapped illegal Israeli settlements while leaving off hundreds of Palestinian villages nearby,” said Eid, the artist from Umm Al Kheir whose exhibition in Berlin was recently sponsored by Chinese dissident artist, Ai WeiWei. “I hope community mapping will engage the world’s attention and help us hold on to our homes and neighborhoods on the land we own.”

And from this long path we found our next steps when we held our first #HeresMyVillage mapathon, working with the Students for Justice in Palestine @SJState to add five Palestinian villages to Open Street Maps, and put key points of interest in Eid’s village of Umm Al Kheir on the map.   Especially moving was putting the Community Center of Umm Al Kheir back on the map — it had been demolished, along with the home of a family of five, on Tuesday while Eid was with us in DC.  Just before their flights home, we held our second Here's My Village mapathon with the Palestinian American Coalition of the Bay Area and mapped six more villages!

Now, we ask your help to bring #HeresMyVillage Community Mapathons to your community and also to do mapping with the Palestinian villages themselves as we teach everyone how to call Congress and continue to press Google and Apple to correct their maps.

On Giving Tuesday starting at midnight, Eastern time for as long as bonus funds last, GlobalGiving is providing a bonus of 50% for each donation up to $1000 — This time GG is giving away a half a million dollars in Bonus matches!  Please give generously. Thank you for all that you do.
The runners visit Rep. Honda
The runners visit Rep. Honda's office
State Dept. meeting w Eid, Bimkom,RebuildingAll
State Dept. meeting w Eid, Bimkom,RebuildingAll
Showing Rep. Eshoo
Showing Rep. Eshoo's staff the maps
#Heres My Village Mapathon with SJP @SJState
#Heres My Village Mapathon with SJP @SJState
SJSU community mapathon
SJSU community mapathon
Here
Here's what Google and Apple show - settlements

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