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.
Mar 15, 2016

First pallet of solar lights now en route to Gaza! Tomorrow is GG Bonus Day!

Ameer
Ameer's nephew: homework w Luci Light in Gaza City

Hello Friend,

Yesterday, our first pallet of 1,920 solar-powered Luci lights shipped from China en route to Gaza to Brighten the Future of Gaza's Children!  It is scheduled to arrive in Ashdod on April 3rd, pre-cleared to enter Gaza. 

My permit is approved too!  I'll be there in April to present a paper at the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme's 6th International conference, 'Mental Health and Human Rights in Palestine – Enhancing Resilience and Hope.'  I'll get to meet some of the children and their families who receive the solar lights and bring you their stories.

Because of your help, we are sending solar lights so children can do their homework, families can cook with light, and little ones can have a nightlight when the power drops out each night.  We are sending solar lights so together, we'll press officials to end the blockade of Gaza and give families a way to make a living and recover from trauma and war.

It is really exciting to hear how creatively groups are organizing events!  We'll write more in our next message - but first this:

  • Tomorrow, Wednesday Mar. 16th, is the next GlobalGiving Bonus Day Competition.  Our goal is to raise $19,200 to send the next pallet of 1,920 solar Luci Lights.  

  • GlobalGiving will match your donation from 6 AM until 8:55 PM PST, for donations up to $1000.  Global Giving is granting a total of $75,000 and they are matching all donations, all day.

Please, if you can, give again on Wednesday and please ask 10 of your friends to give too. Together, we can do this. We can send the next shipment of solar lights to brighten the future of Gaza's children!

Sincerely,

Donna, Tamsin, Christina, Henry, Andrea, Monica, Kamila, Thai, Fatma, Niveen, Lamia, Laurie, Adam and many more volunteers!

P.S. On Wednesday, all of Rebuilding Alliance's projects are up for matching funds.  Please consider making a 2nd donation to support these great projects too.  To see the whole list, click here.

Ameer says everyone in Gaza City is asking for one
Ameer says everyone in Gaza City is asking for one

Links:

Mar 15, 2016

Smart Kindergartners Shared Their Views on Peace

Dear Friends,

The school year is underway in Al Aqaba, and thanks to your generosity, 30 children are receiving a scholarship this year! We just sent $2,000 for the scholarships, and the children and their families are so glad to have your help.

Most of the boys and girls are orphans or from families with very limited income. Their families cannot afford to pay the tuition fees. This was the case for D., a girl who is currently receiving one of the scholarships you helped fund. Her father does not work and could not pay the monthly tuition for Kindergarten. Because he could not pay the installments, he said D. would not be able to attend school. Your scholarship changed all this -- D. gets to attend school with her 131 classmates and receive all the benefits an early Kindergarten education provides for her future. 

These 132 students come from near and far. Two bus drivers bring children every day from nearby towns and villages to learn alongside students who live in Al Aqaba. Many families are refugees from Al Aqaba, from the decades when the Israeli Army used this village for live-fire training exercises.  The kindergarten building was the first building Al Aqaba built (Rebuilding Alliance was proud to help) when Israel's High Court stopped the live-fire training inside the village in 2002.

The children learn important concepts that will help them be successful in first grade and beyond. Since 2008, students at the Kindergarten have also been creating Pinwheels for Peace, an activity that encourages children to express their vision of peace. Rebuilding Alliance's social worker, Fatma, saw this activity at the Kindergarten and is bringing it to South Hebron Hills. She uses the activity to create a safe space for children to open up about their unpeaceful experiences and as a gateway for healing trauma. 

Donna Baranski-Walker, Executive Director and Founder of Rebuilding Alliance, visited Al Aqaba's Kindergarten in December and saw first-hand how powerful making these pinwheels can be. Donna traveled to Gaza to deliver 3,888 backpacks kits filled with school supplies and children's books. Then she visited the Kindergarten in Al Aqaba and made Pinwheels for Peace with some of the students. The children wrote down what peace means to them and drew what it looks like, then fixed the paper edges to make their messages turn in the wind. 

Thoughtful visions of peace filled pinwheels and conversation, and leave no doubt in our minds that we're helping some pretty smart Kindergartners! Thank you. Peace can mean a lot of things, but for some of the Kindergartners in Al Aqaba, it is as simple as the opportunity to receive an education. 

I hope we can continue to increase our scholarships to this Kindergarten. Your donations are making such a difference in the lives of children, families, and their villages. Please continue your support so we can help even more smart Kindergartners in the future. 

Cheers and Gratitude,

Christina

P.S. On March 16 you can stretch your donation to Kindergarten Scholarships further! It's GlobalGiving's Bonus Day. GlobalGiving will match a percentage of the donations we receive between 6:00 am PST and 8:59 pm PST, which increases your impact. Please set your alarms!

Links:

Mar 4, 2016

Let Music Lead the Way!

Music is in the air as the third grade students in the Al Aqaba Village strum the strings to their violins! The Edward Said National Conservatory of Music sends not one but two Music teachers to Al Aqaba each week. Violin and Viola teacher, Muhammad Fadel, enthusiastically counts, conducts, and cajoles the students’ emerging music and encourages their proper playing technique.

 The most accurate term describing the atmosphere within the classroom could only be “endless excitement.” 

Our very own Donna Baranski-Walker had the pleasure of visiting the classrooms in December, when this project was just getting on its feet. Donna recalls the happiness of the children as they rushed into the Mayor’s office to pick-up their instruments. As they were awaiting the arrival of the children, the cello teacher, Daniele Spada, began playing classical music and Mayor Haj Sami’s ordinary office became a portal to another world.

“It brought back memories of Lina and the concert she organized to first raise funds for this project,” recounted Donna. “With over 20 professional and student performers, Lina helped me understand what Peace sounds like… and here was that sound once again.” 

The vision of the head music teacher is similar. Muhammad Fadel has been teaching music for the past 21 years. His dream is for all of his 140 students in and out of Palestine to play in one big unifying concert. 

He believes, “Music will unite the people.”

And with that, we are proud to announce that the students of the Al Aqaba village have been invited to join fellow students to perform at two universities, Birzeit and An-Najah. The students are so excited! Mayor Haj Sami says that for many, it will be their first visit to a big city or to a university. They will embark on their journey the 23rd of April early in the morning for an intensive rehearsal following by the much anticipated Unity Concerts at each location. With your help of just $20 we will be able to fund for one student’s tour including food and lodging for the duration of their trip. What’s even more exciting, if donations are made on March 16th, GlobalGiving will match all donations up to $1000 by 50%! So mark your calendars and help send all 41 students from Al Aqaba.

Thank you again for all of your help and support. Al Aqaba is building a strong and peaceful community, and you are a part of that, spreading love and unity through music.

And 4 girls!
And 4 girls!
Just beginning
Just beginning

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