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Jan 22, 2014

A Good Way to Finish, at Last

Nabil and Safa eagerly wait for their home
Nabil and Safa eagerly wait for their home

Dear Friend,

I am happy to tell you that work has resumed to finish our first three Rebuilding to Remain homes in Palestine. 

Nearly 700 donors like you helped Rebuilding Alliance meet our Rebuilding to Remain fund raising goal, and we built the first 3 homes as promised in Al Aqaba Village in the Jordan Valley. This is one of the areas of the West Bank that is currently under demolition orders by the Israeli Army, Area C.  We worked directly with the families to design energy efficient homes, together daring to draft Palestinian Building Permits where none existed, and created the first mortgage loan program for Area C.

Instead of waiting for the finishing grants promised by the Palestinian National Authority (its been over one year now), the families have agreed to extend their mortgage loan and Rebuilding Alliance is raising the funds caused by that shortfall to buy the doors, windows, tiles, and plumbing to finish so they can move in.  Thanks to recent donations we are transferring $7000 this month in extended mortgage loans and will transfer additional loans each month as soon as donations arrive. 

If only a small amount is raised each month, the families have decided to finish the homes one by one instead of finishing all simultaneously.  They declined to draw straws to choose which home is finished first.  Instead, Nabil, Safah, Othman and Sara all decided that Sadeq’s house should be finished first because Sadeq’s wedding waits for the day he can bring his bride home.

As you can see in the attached itemized budget, the total finishing costs for all three homes is $38,862.   The families will be doing the painting, reducing the total to $33,417.   With our transfer of $7000, we just need $26,417 to finish. 

If we could finish all three at the same time it would be both safer and also, newsworthy as the village will hold a grand homecoming celebration that will be truly inspiring.   All three homes could be finished in early March if all of us make a one-time donation of $50.    Let’s make this happen.

If you would like to join me for that Homecoming celebration  (and maybe even Sadeq’s wedding), please consider travelling with me on Rebuilding Alliance’s first-ever study tour, February 24-March 6th.   Please give me a call if you would like to discuss a major donation or would like more information about the study tour.  My cellphone is 650 440 9667.

I look forward to your reply.

Sincerely,
Donna

Future home for Sadeq and his bride
Future home for Sadeq and his bride
Sophia at Othman & Sara
Sophia at Othman & Sara's home - they visit daily

Attachments:
Dec 2, 2013

A BIG way to help the neediest children on Tuesday

Dear Friend,

All good news from Al Aqaba Village.  The British Consulate and the Palestinian Welfare Foundation have provided a grant to update the furniture, books, and toys in the Al Haq Kindergarten — very exciting.  We had the opportunity to join them when they visited in August for a walk-through.   It was wonderful to bring forward Rebuilding Alliance's commitment — we built the Kindergarten and helped it expand in so many ways.

I hope you are as excited as I am by our new scholarship focus for this project!   I have asked Mayor Haj Sami Sadeq and Kindergarten Principal Rawheya Alsbaih to tell us about the children who need scholarships and their families.  They would like to give 60 children scholarships for Kindergarten — let's do it!

Please GIVE on Tuesday, Dec. 3rd when Microsoft's Youth Spark program will be matching all donations dollar for dollar.  Please give as early as you can because their funds will run out quickly.  Here's when the matching grant starts:

 9:01am Pacific  /  Noon:01 Eastern  /  5:01pm London  /  7:01pm Jerusalem time

Thank you again!
Nov 25, 2013

New Title, New Goal

This is the photo I took in 2003, my first visit
This is the photo I took in 2003, my first visit

 

Dear Friend,

We have really good news.   This amazing project in support of the kindergarten and schools in Al Aqaba Village, has been selected to be part of Microsoft’s Youth Spark matching grant program!   This means that on #GivingTuesday,  Dec. 3rd,  Microsoft will match all donations dollar for dollar starting at 9am Pacific time — and they are giving away a total of $250,000.  

What an incredible pleasure it is to hear Al Aqaba Village fill with children’s voices each morning as the school bus minivan brings more and more students from the surrounding towns and hillsides!  This is especially important here, because demolition orders have been issued against the 95% of the structures including most of the homes, the mosque, the clinic, and the kindergarten.  Our Al Haq Kindergarten (Al Haq means ‘justice’ in Arabic) is what keeps Al Aqaba Village standing, inspiring some 20 countries to invest in Al Aqaba and to provide a diplomatic channel that is the village's lifeline — but no matter how wonderful a building may be, what matters most is the children. 

When the brilliant students at Foothill College's Rebuilding Alliance Club helped us launch this project, we called it "Teaching in a Village Under Demolition Orders."  As you see, we’ve now renamed to call it “Scholarships for Children, Stipends for Young Teachers” to help the neediest children attend kindergarten tuition-free while continueing to provide stipends to student teachers.   We moved support for the Library into its own project called, “Help the Ibn Rush’d Library Serve Youth in Area C” — and that new project qualified for the Youth Spark 1:1 matching grant too!

  • We look forward to bringing you the stories of the children and their families who will receive the scholarships.  While  demolition orders for the kindergarten and neighboring homes remain “frozen” as best we can tell, not so for families in the nearby countryside where the Israeli army has been tearing down the modest homes of the poorest of the poor.   Your support will provide an oasis for these children by giving their families a way to send them to kindergarten.
  • Your support will also continue to bring student teachers to Al Aqaba Village.  Since this project began, Kali, Matt, Morgan, Ian, Dan and Ellen have been student teachers focused on teaching English in Al Aqaba, joining us from the U.S., Estonia, and China.  They have brought incredible commitment and energy to Al Aqaba Village.  They have been a brave resource during times when the Israeli Army demolished homes nearby or entered the village to hold live-fire training exercises as their writing, photos, and videos helped wake-up the diplomatic network to restore safety.

I know this project means a lot to you and I hope you will save the date to give on #GIvingTuesday.   We learned in the Youth Spark training that even with $250,000 to give away, Microsoft’s Youth Spark 1:1 matching funds will likely run out in the very first hour.    

Please take a moment now to mark your calendar and set an alarm for  9am Pacific  /  Noon Eastern /  5pm London  /  7pm Jerusalem time.    At a minute after the hour on Dec. 3rd, please make your donation and watch it double!

Questions?  Suggestions? Please give me a call at 650 325-4663.

Sincerely,

Donna

Kindergarten where RA built first floor, 2004
Kindergarten where RA built first floor, 2004
Our Kindergarten today, plus library, sewing co-op
Our Kindergarten today, plus library, sewing co-op
160 children are in this year
160 children are in this year's class of 2014!

Links:

 
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