Jeel Al-Amal Boys Home
This was the 11th year of the MET-sponsored Unipal programme at Jeel al Amal. Unipal had three volunteers working with the boys this summer.
For Emma it was the first time there. She writes, “Working in the school was wonderful and I have to say that this has been one of the most amazing experiences. The kids were so wonderful and sweet and fun to be around. Bethany was a lovely place to be and the people were so welcoming.”
For Panna, who first visited in 2008, the enjoyment is always tinged with sadness as many of the boys move on and many from the original programme are now young men and ready to make their way in the world.
Clemmie writes, “Returning to Bethany each year is always delightful and to witness the development of the boys is, we believe, a privilege. Many mornings were spent singing songs, doing art and craft (from mask making, mad hair inventions and undersea themes) and, of course, playing with the school’s kittens!”
“It was a pleasure to see the boys hoarding their stickers and feathers to produce beautiful art pieces and proudly producing their art work and wall displays which, by the next day, reappeared in their rooms.”
“The group went on several day trips, including to Jericho and Jaffa. This year there were many trips to West Bank swimming pools, including to Nablus and Jenin, where the boys developed their swimming techniques and tasted the delights of Nablus’s speciality, knaffi!” You can Google the recipe!
It was a joy for the team to visit Najwa in her home. She has many plans still for the school and it was good to see the new top floor extension which is very nearly ready and will be a fantastic addition for the school. So much thought has gone into the planning and building. Jeel al Amal is always progressing and the new floor has specialist rooms to help children with disabilities. But the Occupation complicates every move the school makes to educate and care for children with complex needs. New laws and complicated bureaucracy make it very difficult for the school to receive charitable donations and the basics of paying for utilities and teachers difficult. Despite these challenges, Nawja, the house-fathers and the house-mothers make impressive progress.
by Andy Webster