Leichhardt Friends of Hebron released this statement on January 10.
Since 2009, Leichhardt Friends of Hebron has been helping provide pre-school education facilities in some of the most disadvantaged communities in Palestine.
In Palestine, the path to education is not easy and straightforward. Children must pass through Israel’s military checkpoints, deal with soldiers and the fear of attack from residents of Israel’s illegal settlements.
In Hebron and the surrounding villages, children are often accompanied by international volunteers who protect them from verbal and physical assaults by these settlers, allowing them to travel to school with a reasonable degree of safety.
Leichhardt Friends of Hebron have decided to tackle the issue of kindergarten learning in the Tel Rumeida area of Hebron’s Old City. Without a local kindergarten, parents there are forced to look outside the neighbourhood for the education of their children. However, this is too expensive for many families, particularly the 43 refugee families living in and around Tel Rumeida. These families have at least 39 children of kindergarten age.
The community in Palestine decided that their best option is to renovate an existing house to use as a kindergarten. After extensive consultations with the community, a house was found whose owners have expressed the desire and commitment to donate the house to be used as a kindergarten.
The house is located en route to the Qurduba School, which is attended by many older children in the neighbourhood. Although its proximity to the settlement of Beit Hadasa means children are faced with constant settler attcks and harassment on their way to and from school, protection for the children is available from international volunteers based in Hebron.
This intense harassment of the school children has motivated the Temporary International Presence in Hebron to place a patrol there to monitor the arrival and the departure of Qurduba students on a daily basis. In addition, the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel has recruited international volunteers whose main task is to walk with the students of Qurduba on a daily basis to provide physical protection of these students.
Leichhardt Friends of Hebron are committed to assisting with this project. The organisation has a long-term commitment to working with Palestinian refugees now living in and around Hebron.
[A trivia night to raise funds for this school will be held on February 6 at the Addison Rd Community Centre, Marrickville, Sydney. Click here to book tickets and read more information].