Morgan Bach, our 2nd visiting teacher in Al Aqaba Village, is now in Michigan starting her U.S. speaking tour! We sent her there to attend the Students for Justice in Palestine conference. Today she is speaking at the First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor, standing-in for Palestinian nonviolence leader Iyad Burnat who was prevented from entering Jordan despite holding a U.S. Visa.
The wonderful travel stipend you provided through your donation to this program brought Morgan to Al Aqaba Village where she spent eight months volunteering as teacher, writer, and aspiring filmmaker (remarkable films). A graduate of Whitman College, she was in New Orleans working as a teacher when she found Al Aqaba through Rebuilding Alliance’s campaign to save the kindergarten that hundreds of Americans helped build.
160 children now attend our kindergarten! It keeps Al Aqaba Village standing, attracting new investment despite demolition orders — we hope that is a positive model that audiences will want to explore and support. Morgan will share her stories, photos and films to introduce Al Aqaba and discuss Area C, the 62% of the West Bank controlled solely by Israel where over 12,000 demolition orders have been issued by the Israeli Army to Palestinian livelihood structures build on their own land. Morgan will describe new interfaith building projects there, and introduce a new way to reach Congress here, on behalf of 149 Palestinian towns at-risk in Area C.
Here are Morgan's destinations:
Please give me a call at 650 440-9667 if you would like to gather your friends and organize a house party or speaking event to hear this dynamic speaker!
We have some good news! We have been notified by our friends at Playgrounds for Palestine that they will provide a grant to allows us to begin construction of a third Abir’s Garden Playground right away. Ideally, we would like to use your donations to cover the construction and meeting expenses of Combatants for Peace who will be coming together for this construction.
The “Combatants for Peace” movement was started jointly by Palestinians and Israelis, who have taken an active part in the cycle of violence; Israelis as soldiers in the Israeli army (IDF) and Palestinians as part of the violent struggle for Palestinian freedom. After brandishing weapons for so many years, and having seen one another only through weapon sights, they decided to put down their guns, and to fight for peace. Rebuilding Alliance joined when a child, Abir Aramin, was killed by an Israeli soldier's rubber-coated steel bullet. She was the daughter of CfP founder, Bassam Aramin and his wife Salwa. Together we created Abir's Garden: a Safe Place to Grow as a way to build good in memory of this beautiful child.
Thanks to your help, this will be our 3rd Abir's Garden playground! Our first playground was at Abir's school in Anata East Jerusalem. The next was in Al Samoa Simya in the south of the West Bank. This time we are asking Combatants for Peace to go north — and that means we'll be working with CfP's Northern team for this project. We have a site in mind: right next the Al Aqaba Kindergarten, in a village at risk of demolition in Area C. 'God is in the details' so we will be updating the project description as soon as the new plans are confirmed. More info coming soon!
Please note, GlobalGiving.org is holding their Bonus Matching Grant day on Tuesday Oct. 16th starting at 9:01pm Pacific time. They will give away $50,000 and they way this competition has been going, we expect that to happen in the first 2 hours. If you would like to give, please set your clock — GG will match your donation by 30%.
I am writing to update you on the project, Teaching in a Village under Demolition Orders, which you have supported with your generous contributions.
During the GlobalGiving Matching grant competition, this project received donations of $1041 which generated a match of $561! Very exciting. The donors asked us to use these funds specifically to buy books for the Ibn Rush’d Library!
More good news: The Palestinian Authority has notified Al Aqaba Village that they will pay the salaries of two new teachers! This means the kindergarten will have room for 20 more children. The challenge here is that in general the Palestinian Authority does not have the funding needed to pay salaries. What should we do if this promise cannot be fulfilled by the time school begins in September? Do you think Rebuilding Alliance should organize a Kindergarten scholarship fund for needy children?
Perhaps you remember our first visiting teacher to Al Aqaba, Ms. Kali Rubaii. Kali returned this summer with filmmaker Maurice Jacobsen to interview families in our Rebuilding to Remain program. Kali, a Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology now UC Berkeley, is working with her professors to set-up a study visit to Al Aqaba for her Congressman Sam Farr.
You’ll be happy to know that Save the Children has been sponsoring a summer camp for the children of Al Aqaba! In addition, Al Aqaba’s guesthouse continues to welcome a steady stream of visitors! Koreans, Brits, Americans and Israelis are all visiting.
While in the West Bank, Kali interviewed two new visiting teacher candidates, an American and an Estonian. One, Patrick Fogerty, recently arrived in Al Aqaba. He was a teacher at Project Hope this summer and will stay in Al Aqaba for about a month. More about Patrick in our next email.
We continue to look for new teachers for the Fall Semester. If you know someone who you believe would be excellent, please ask them to get in touch with us to fill out an application!
As always, please send me any questions or suggestions. I look forward to your thoughts.