During the past few weeks we have been here, some of us have had the pleasure and privilege of being able to spend time with the Ibrahi Al-Khaleil Society. Ran by a man whose name is Hashem, it is a community centre in Tel Rumeida, that does some great things for the people living in the area- which is under a military occupation.
Started in 2006, its goal is to provide the Palestinian community in the area with three things- education, social work, and community development.
The centre is open all year. It distributes food and money for families who are economically in need, as well as workshops for children and women. The centre is working to combat social problems that some people in the area struggle with, such as drug abuse. Focus is also placed on protecting children from abuse. Classes are offered for parents who are struggling with their kids at home- the environment of occupation and constant violence and insecurity that many face does take its toll on kids, as it would anywhere in the world. There is a focus as well on art, since it helps many kids express what they are going through. Doctors and psychologists visit the centre often.
There are also classes for kids, where those who strugg;ed during the schoolyear academically come to work on their Math, Arabic, and English. Some ISMers volunteer a bit in the English class for the children. There is an amazing teacher called Lubna, who teaches English in a high school during the schoolyear, but comes in a few days a week during the summer to work with the kids at Tel Rumeida.
All the services provided are free.
The centre is currently collecting food, milk, tables and water to send to Gaza. Life is difficult for Palestinians in Hebron- especially H2, but many people still give what they have to others who have it even worse.
Hashem told us that the centre has been attacked by settlers in 2006, who managed to get into the building, and attempted to burn everything inside. The massive destruction they left behind was not successful in stopping its work for the community.
Ibrahim Al Khaleil Society- it is a few steps from our apartment and even less steps from the convenience store which has a never-ending supply of hummus, pita bread, bottled water, and junk food.
Ibrahim Al-Khaleil Society
Hashem showing some of the milk based food that is being collected to send to Gaza.
Children's work. Spongebob characters hold hands as fighter planes fly overhead.
Art made by younger children
Art made by some of the older students
Lubna working with the kids as they practice their English writing skills.
Kids hard at work (1).
Kids hard at work (2).
Kids hard at work (3)
Marwa, a young girl from the Shamsiia family. Teachers aren't supposed to have favourites and I like all the kids, but Marwa I think has managed to form a special bond with a lot of the ISMers. She often comes by to say hello to us, and I think every ISMers who has been in Hebron for more than a few weeks knows her.
Her family faces a lot of harrassment from soldiers as well as settlers, and her parents are active in documenting not only what is happening to them, but also what is happening to other Palestinians close to where they live. Last year, one of Marwa's brothers was attacked by settlers, and beaten into unconsciousness.
The constant harassment and violence does take a toll. The environment Marwa and many other Palestinian kids live in, makes studying and going to school difficult sometimes. Yet they continue to learn.