In an earlier report, I mentioned that Abir's Garden Playground in Al Aqaba is receiving a matching grant from Playgrounds for Palestine. In the past two weeks their team visited Al Aqaba to determine the site for the playground and discuss the earth-friendly goals for the design.
And that's where things get interesting! Al Aqaba Village has launched a remarkable tea factory (funded by the Japanese government) that is doing very well. Now the French will be funding a tea house and an upgrade to the Al Aqaba guesthouse too. Even the UNDP is interested in funding a community center project!
Our Abir's Garden playground design will put the children at the center of all of this, in the warm and watchful eye of their parents and the visitors who will keep this Area C village standing despite demolition orders. Next step: find the right landscape architect! I'll send you the designs as soon as I receive them.
Meanwhile, a remarkable fundraising project has been launched by John, Gethin and Jon in Britain. They are planning to swim from Europe to Asia on August 30th to raise funds for Abir's Garden. More specifically, they'll be swimming the Hellespont River: "Situated in Turkey, The Hellespont is undoubtedly one of the most significant open water swims in the world. In 1810, Lord Byron the English Poet became the first known person to swim across the Hellespont from Europe to Asia. He swam it in honour of Leander, who in Greek Mythology, would swim nightly across this stretch of water to his lover Hero." We're focusing on the 4th Abir's garden for that project, in the West Bank Village of Ein Yanoun where Combatants for Peace regularly meets. I'll have pictures available soon!
Thank you again for making all this possible! Your contribution in memory of a little girl, Abir Aramin, is a way to give Palestinian children a safe place to grow. We've got a long way to go to keep this tragedy from ever happening again but through the safe playgrounds, through Combatants for Peace, and through your commitment this dream is held in the light.