Changemaker: Lubna Alzaroo
Learning English is essential for children in Palestine. From a practical standpoint, it is a requirement to graduate and get into university, but it is also becoming more and more essential simply to participate in the broader world, to get a good job, and as a foundation for access to so much more. Students do not have access to books and teachers have not been given the tools to help students engage with English. The goal is to get more books to the schools and students and to train teachers in the art of storytelling to make learning English something kids want to do. They need to start early and build a foundation.
The two central activities are book drives in the UK and US to get the books and then we will have several trainings for teachers in telling the stories and leading reading/sharing groups. For the initial launch of the project three schools in Bethlehem and Hebron will be chosen to participate in the program. Each school will receive books in January and host trainings which will be done by both the Yaffa Cultural Center and teachers from the US and UK who will come in February and March. The target is first and second graders so that as they are first exposed to English they can gain an early appreciation that will hopefully stay with them as they get older.
The goal is to get 1000 children’s books in English to the three schools in Palestine. The hope is that this can grow into school partnering between elementary schools in the US or UK and Palestine and become a sustainable program, but at least for now the goal is to get books and train teachers to help get kids excited about reading through storytelling. The more teachers we can have go through a workshop in storytelling the better. The workshops would hopefully continue on a twice a year basis in partnership with the cultural center or schools in the US and UK. If we can get kids to like books and enjoy reading and give them more access to good books to read the hope is that it will stay with them as they progress in school. The focus is building a foundation and helping teachers. By providing books for 3 schools I hope to reach 1200 children as well as 30 teachers which will carry on to every child they teach for years to come even if the project was only for the one year.