Help the school for refugees in Greece!

Our member organisations from the Middle East Hashomer Hatzair and Ajyal need your help to keep up with their project of the school for refugees they set up in Greece. Here is the link of the crowdfunding campaign, if you want to know more about the project, read the following article they have sent us!

“The Syrian Refugee Crisis” has been declared by the international community to be the largest humanitarian disaster in the last 25 years. It changes the face of the world, it changes the face of humanity and it’s not expected to pass from the world in the next generation.”

The Humanitarian Thing To Do
The Delegation of Educational Assistance puts their goal to give assistance to the hardships of the refugees in our world and our area. The Assistance Delegation is a cooperative effort of the adult members of the Hashomer Hatzair movement and the Arab youth organization Ajiyal. Ajiyal is the Israeli Arab youth organization that bases its pedagogy on belief in human beings and chooses informal education to impart its’ values. The Ajiyal Organization sees in education a central tool to insure cultural mobility, and the main way to the advancement and the development of the Arab Israeli society. Ajiyal is a sister organization of Hashomer Hatzair and at a formal level it is a unit of Hashomer Hatzair.

During February 2017 we began together the course of events that led to the establishment of a school for children of refugees on the island of Lesbos in Greece. The island of Lesbos is close to the shore of Turkey and to it many refugees arrive and only 48 out of 900 children and teenagers that have come there are integrated into the Greek schools. The school was created to gether with professional people who are refugees themselves. In the school in the mornings there lessons in Arabic (for Syrian refugees) and lessons in Persian (for the Afghani refugees). In the afternoons a variety of courses are presented for the adults.

The values that motivate The Assistance Delegation
*An educational delegation that is based on the informal atmosphere of the youth movement
*From the community for the community – a school that was established in full coordination with the teachers from the community of refugees that live on the island. We believe that our role is to awaken hope and positive action amongst the refugees themselves and not to create a relationship that preserves the position of weakness that they already find themselves in.
*Now in the Middle East we aim at the shared humane basis for all people, to a striving towards unity and goodness. We put great effort towards a beneficent meeting among the nations.
*To invest greatly in every human being and in every detail – we believe that after experiencing trauma and months and years of survival only the highest level of effort and meaning will bring about a change in the quality of life for the people we work with.
*Education and not appeasement – only education that believes in children and sets a high bar can succeed and change something in the refugee experience of our students.

From the diary of the members of the delegation
On the first parents’ day that we organized, 40 parents from Syria and Afghanistan came to sign up their children for school. The meeting was led by Abdullah from Afghanistan and Salam from Syria. We agreed ahead of time with the staff of teachers that we would sit on the side so that it would be clear that the school is of and for the community. The meeting took place in Arabic and Persian. Towards the end of the meeting we noticed that all of the parents and children were beginning to look at us and then Salam came to us and one by one and took us to stand across from everyone. After we all stood embarrassed in front of everyone Salem began to speak. He stopped every few sentences so that Valid and Amir will translate into Hebrew and so that Abdullah will translate into Persian: “You see these people here? They are Jews from Israel and Arabs from Palestine who decided to come here to build together with us our first school. They are our brothers and sisters. Jews, Muslims and Christians – we are all brothers. We are one family. I want to say to our new friends thank you. Thank you that you are here with us. Thank you for these last weeks in which you worked and prepared this whole place with us. Together we will show everyone that the world can look different.” When he finished speaking everyone in the room clapped and one of the Syrian mothers stood before us with tears in her eyes.We also had to dry the tears from our eyes because the atmosphere in the room was full of the feeling that something historic had happened here. A moment of benevolence. Very slowly the parents began to leave and we stayed in the room with Salam. He came to us and hugged us and said “From this room we will begin to change the world.”