This is the photo I took in 2003, my first visit
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.
Kindergarten where RA built first floor, 2004
Our Kindergarten today, plus library, sewing co-op
160 children are in this year's class of 2014!