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News and stories from McCabe

News features, stories from our guests and updates from the McCabe Educational Trust.

Bethany Summer School

JEEL SUMMER SCHOOL   ( Rachel’s report )

Rachel writes:
Each morning the pupils were divided into three groups, with a mixture of lessons, sport and arts & crafts. We ran the arts & crafts sessions and worked with ten to fifteen children in each group.

Activities included playdough, mask making, mobiles, stories, painting, printing, collages, glass painting, and badge making. This year we also introduced singing sessions at the start of most lessons and this proved to be a winner – particularly with the younger children. We found this to be quite a useful calm activity, with everyone sitting round in a circle joining in with either the words or actions. We also played a huge amount of copying games (eg passing a gesture round the circle etc) which was a useful way of coping with the language barrier.

The children also loved looking at the books which had been donated from Book Aid. At times we were able to use these in our lessons as an introduction, though many of them simply enjoyed looking at the pictures on their own when they had free time after an activity. 

Each week, all the pupils were taken to an indoor swimming pool for the morning, and we supported them from the side. Although the older pupils loved it, the pool is simply freezing cold, and many of the

younger children found it difficult to stay motivated. To help deal with this we used a fair amount of the budget money on wetsuits, armbands and beach balls. The wetsuits (available for just £8 locally!) significantly helped in keeping the pupils warm. Male staff members from Jeel swam with the children in the pool each week, and although we were invited to join in, we decided that this was not really culturally acceptable.

This year we were able to include day outings.

A day in Jericho Bananaland was a great success! The children were also taken to the Jerusalem Zoo (with funding from the late Alice Sahhar’s son) and this was definitely a day to remember! The excitement from the children was lovely to see, and the day was incredibly well structured and staffed. It was sad, however, to see the stares from some of the Israeli visitors who were clearly not impressed at having to share the zoo with Palestinians. I am not sure whether many of the children actually noticed, but for me it was a real eye opener into how even non-aggressive racism can be extremely hurtful.

On the last teaching day, we organised a party for the pupils. The children joined in enthusiastically with the games and loved their ‘present boxes’ which they, themselves, had made earlier and we had filled with small gifts such as stickers, marbles and sweets.

Jeel then organised a leaving party for us, which was quite overwhelming. Not only were there cake and drinks, but all the children were asked one by one to say something about the project. Some of the comments were really lovely, with the children genuinely sad that we were going home.

Yet again Jeel Al Amal proved to be a fantastic place to be a volunteer, and the summer programme was well organised, well supported and a genuine pleasure to be involved with. The children continue to be amazing, and staff relationships with us were brilliant throughout.

Thank you Unipal and McCabe for another fantastic summer!

Rachel Holmes
Volunteer at Jeel Al Amal 2009

The McCabe Educational Trust

For more than twenty years, the McCabe Educational Trust has been creating partnerships with inspiring people we have met on pilgrimage.

A special Thank You to McCabe pilgrims who helped us raise £15,666 during July and August
a total of £126,336 for the first half of the year!

With your help, we will continue helping those in need we encounter on our travels.