The library is in wonderful Kindergarten building
A week ago Sunday, we met with Ms. Kefah Akram, the new librarian at the Ibn Rush’d Library in Al Aqaba. Raheya Alsbaih, director of the Rural Women’s Association, joined us as did Josie Shields-Stromsness who drove up from Bethlehem for our meeting. Josie is part of the Middle East Children’s Alliance and works with a number of library projects in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza.
This day, May 16th, was the 11th anniversary of Rachel Corrie’s death in Gaza and we are here in this little village facing demolition orders on nearly all the buildings. We marked her anniversary by meeting to explore how to use the funds you’ve donated to best help children and youth through this wonderful library. We also used our meeting to develop our scholarship program for kindergarteners (but I’ll leave that for a separate report). Al Aqaba is holding steady through their good work, your support, and everyone’s intervention. I hope Rachel would be proud of our work.
Let me tell you more about our meeting and our follow-up visit the next day:
Just before our trip, Rebuilding Alliance’s Board approved the transfer of a grant of $4,326 for the Ibn Rush’d Library. Half of this will cover Kefah’s salary for the year, and the other half will be used to expand the wall of the library onto the covered porch to make the library bigger and include indoor access to the restroom. Mayor Haj Sami asked me to help make plans for Kefah’s library training at the AlAnwar Children's Library in Hebron.
Do you remember that the Ibn Rush’d Library project has been accepted into Microsoft Youth Spark grant program? On April 16th there will be a Bonus Day with Microsoft matching 50% to each dollar donated — please mark your callendar.
It was really fun to use our meeting to brainstorm about the entrepreneurship program for young people that the Ibn Rush’d Library will be offering as part of the Youth Spark grant. The next day we went on a Field Trip to Canaan Fair Trade to help Librarian Kifah learn more about entrepreneurship by seeing how wonderfully successful Canaan has become. Founder Nasser Abufarha will be returning next month and would be pleased to host a group of students to tell them how he came up with the idea of Fair Trade Olive Oil and what it took to get this wonderful business started. Librarian Kifah asked a ton of questions and got to thinking about a list of speakers. She'll send us her plans soon.
We also noted that the computers in the library are not currently connected to the Internet, in part because the mayor is afraid that everyone will just be on Facebook, not doing any real learning. To overcome that fear, we proposed uploading the offline educational content offered by www.worldpossible.org
Lastly, we asked Librarian Kifah and Kindergarten Director Raheya Sbaih to become members of the Beyond Access organization in the hope they can receive scholarships to attend their annual international conference this year or next.
Thank you again for your incredible support. Again, please mark your calendar for April 16th and give as early as you can that day to benefit by Microsoft's 50% match.
Meeting with Donna, Josie, and interpreter Ayat
Discussion with Librarian Kefah & Director Raheya
A lot of laughter
Librarian Kefah in the Ibn Rush'd Library
Kifah & Donna discussing entrepreneurshi @ Canaan
At the showroom of Canaan Fair Trade
Resilience: capacity to recover quickly; toughness