A school with a mission in Westbank town of Al Khadr
The Hope flowers School is situated on the edge of the Al Khadr village. The area in which the school is located is under full Israeli military control. It is Area C under the Oslo agreement. Very close to the school the Efrat settlement is growing rapidly. It happens regularly that settlers walk towards the Solomon’s pools in Al Khadr and cause friction with the locals. The Israeli soldiers come around to protect the settlers. Children often have to witness the army moving around their school.
Under these circumstances the school is trying to educate around 350 children. The school is a private school that is not affiliated with any religion. This is quite unique in Palestine where the schools are either public schools, UNRWA schools, run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, or private schools related to religious institutions.
The name of the school is to be understood as Hope is flowering, a verb, not a noun. Besides the Palestinian curriculum that they teach in the school, they offer special programs for children with autism, children with trauma and children with learning difficulties.
There are several rooms furnished and equipped especially for these children. There is a speech therapist, an occupational therapist and a social worker to provide extra care for the children.
But also the teachers receive extra care, education and debriefing to be able to work under the difficult circumstances.
Poverty, violence and trauma
The majority of the children in Hope flowers school is from the refugee camps and the villages around. Many of them suffer from malnutrition due to poverty. Children are also confronted with domestic violence and violence by the Israeli army, including arrests of family members. The children suffer from the feeling of not having a safe place to live. The social worker spends a lot of time with the children but also with their parents. She gives them tools to deal with traumatic experiences.
Financial support for the school
This podcast episode was created upon request of the Friends of the Hope flowers School foundation, based in the Netherlands. They are one of several groups that support the school financially. Without the help of these international funders, the school would not be able to continue its work. They do not receive money from the Palestinian Authority and many of the parents are not able to pay for the school fees.
If you want to support the work of the Hope flowers School you can visit the website of the Friends of Hope flowers to read more and to do a tax deductible donation: https://www.vriendenvanhopeflowers.nl/language/en/start_en/