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Move 4 Jerusalem: London charity hosts global fundraiser for Palestinian youths’ education

Move 4 Jerusalem: London charity hosts global fundraiser for Palestinian youths’ education

Galilee Foundation team members and running volunteers at the Royal Parks Half Marathon in 2019. Volunteers are in orange running vests. Photo permission from Dianne Woodward.

A London charity is hosting a global fundraiser to support education for Palestinian youths.

Galilee Foundation is hosting the ‘Move 4 Jerusalem’ campaign, covering the distance from London to Jerusalem and back again.

Based in Hampstead, the charity has been empowering Palestinian youths since 2007.

‘Move 4 Jerusalem’ is open to anyone who wishes to take part by walking, running, cycling or counting their daily steps.

Participants can sign up to walk, run, cycle and fundraise for the foundation.

So far, the total distance covered by participants is 4,348 kilometres.

£39,822 has been raised out of the £50,000 target.

Photo permission from Dianne Woodward.

Galilee Foundation has a scholarship programme, which funds the studies of Palestinian youths.

Since 2007, the charity has helped over 1,100 students get an education.

Photo permission from Dianne Woodward.

In 2019, the scholarship began supporting students in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

As part of the scholarship, students take field trips to destroyed villages and parts of Haifa, Israel, that were thriving Palestinian areas before 1948.

The scholarship programme also provides workshops such as IT skills and public speaking.

The students also have to volunteer, for example, by teaching in schools in unrecognised villages in the Negev region (which occupies almost half of Palestine, west of the Jordan River.)

Photo permission from Dianne Woodward.

The demand for scholarships is increasing every year.

Photo permission from Dianne Woodward.

Dianne Woodward, Interim Fundraising & Communications Manager at Galilee Foundation, outlined the purpose of the scholarship. She said:

“The idea is to educate Palestinian youths, so that they can break the cycle of poverty and marginalisation.

“Also, the Palestinian youths often come out of the Israeli school system really knowing very little about their Palestinian heritage. They are taught history from the Zionist perspective. We [at Galilee Foundation] support the youths in re-discovering their cultural identity. So, they take field trips out to destroyed villages and parts of Haifa that were thriving Palestinian areas before 1948. So, they get to grips with their own history and culture.

“We also support them with lots of workshops geared towards academic success that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to.

“We’re always looking for donations because the demand for scholarships is becoming larger every year. Every £1 spent on education reaps about £15 in economic development.”

Additionally, Dianne explained the positive impact of the scholarship on students. She continued:

“Our scholarship students have a lower dropout rate than the entirety of the Israeli undergraduate population, because of the support we give them, not just financial, but mental, moral and emotional support.

“The feedback we get from students is that the scholarship is the most amazing thing in their lives and they now have this huge network that they’re part of. The impact is there. Palestinians are so passionate about education.”

Former scholarship recipients include a director of an NGO, an Israeli MP and a published writer who has been running workshops about Palestinian literature for current students.

Scholarship student cohorts on a recent field trip to Wadi Al Salib to learn more about a part of Haifa that was a lively, thriving Palestinian district of Haifa before 1948. Photo permission from Dianne Woodward.

According to UNICEF, more than 2.2 million people in Palestine require humanitarian aid, as the ongoing political and socio-economic crisis has left people vulnerable to violence and hardship.

Many Palestinians also have limited access to clean water and health care.

The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated these issues.

Moreover, Palestinians receive less funding for education services than their Jewish counterparts do.

On average, the education budget for Palestinian Arab children is around $7,000 a year, whereas $12,000 is spent on education for Jewish children per year.

This leads to overcrowded classrooms and a shortage of qualified teachers in Palestinian schools, meaning that children cannot always afford to go to university.

Galilee Foundation has also paid for computers for students to learn from home whilst their education institutions are closed under lockdown restrictions.

Infographic created by author.

Earlier this year, Galilee Foundation launched a Ramadan appeal for donations. Dianne added:

“A lot of the Palestinians are Muslim and we felt there’s a lot of sympathy for Palestinians within the Muslim community, generally.

“We felt, maybe people would like to donate, because it is a case of relieving poverty and debt, in a way that it’s not just about the individual. That individual student will lift his or her family and community with him or her. It’s a gift, but it’s an investment in the people as well.

“We appreciate that a lot of donations during Ramadan are for medicines and food. We appreciate that people can see the importance of that, but whilst that alleviates an immediate need, the long-term need is not met. If you’re contributing to education, you’re contributing to people breaking out of poverty.”

Galilee Foundation accepts donations.

To participate in the ‘Move 4 Jerusalem’ campaign, visit the Foundation’s website.

Participants can also fundraise for the Foundation by selecting a marathon event happening this year (such as the London Marathon or Manchester Half Marathon). For more information, visit here.

Scholarship students volunteering in the classroom of an unrecognised village in 2019. Photo permission from Dianne Woodward.

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