genderjustice-interfaith rocky road


Rocky Road to School

Notes from an occupied area

Fathers in some of the more conservative villages tend to pull their daughters out of school when they reach adolescence, if they have to attend mixed classes with boys. Hamed Qawasmeh, Director of the Hebron International Resources Network (HIRN) does what he can to help these village schools to get separate blocks for the girls, in order that the parents would not be so inclined to terminate their schooling. Last summer, Hamed collected funds for this Bedouin school in the village of Zweidin, east of Yatta, in order to get a separate classroom for 10th Grade girls. I asked Hamed: “Wouldn’t it be more sensible to enlighten the parents?” “No”, he answered. “It is much too slow a process. Only by educating the girls can you enlighten future parents.”

And then there is a place where the only image I have is this long-distance shot, because photography there is expressly forbidden. The kids of the village of Al Seefer have to pass through the Israeli-manned checkpoint of Beit Yatir every single day on their way to and from school. It is a fifteen-minute walk, door to door, but they never know how long the process will take. Every day, the same kids’ schoolbags and satchels are inspected, birth certificates are shown for the hundredth time to soldiers who know perfectly well who the kids are, and there are body searches, particularly of the older girls. This sort of thing should not be a part of the daily process of going to school. Anywhere. We went today to the school that these children attend, in Imneizil. We asked the school’s principal whether the daily inspections at the checkpoint have affected the kids. He looked rather gloomily at the floor and admitted: “Yes, they are different from the others. They are often late for school, they are often irritable, and they do not do well in class.” He called in the older girls referred to above. We asked them how long the inspections at the checkpoint usually take. “About half an hour”, they told us in quiet, shy tones.

Read the full article:


Pray for all girls - for their power to break the silence and speak out.
Pray for all girls - for their dignity to go to shool and get education without fear, restrictions and violence.

Send solidarity messages to EAPPI, PO Box 741, Jerusalem 91000