Gaza Children Return to a Newly Renovated Preschool
All across Gaza, children dressed in their freshly laundered uniforms entered school for the new term.
At Baraem Al-Amal wa Al-Mahaba preschool, the blackboard in every classroom boasted huge welcome signs in both Arabic and English. The preschool, which is located in Al-Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza, was one of several ANERA renovated during the summer months.
Headmistress Salwa Abu Ayesh has been working the preschool for 12 years. She described the preschool before the renovation, “We had outdated bathrooms and the only water fountain for the children was actually located inside the bathroom. It was hard to keep up a high degree of hygiene.”
Everything from sinks to classrooms were renovated in this Gaza preschool.
ANERA’s renovation provided a new water fountain outside the bathroom raised on a tiled platform so the children no longer need to worry about their feet getting wet or dirty in the mud.
Abu Ayesh says she was delighted by the children’s reaction, as they ran into the school quickly pointing out all the changes. “They left a dilapidated preschool last summer and now everything is brand new. I hear their joy when they tell new students about all the bright new colors in their classrooms, new bathrooms and drinking fountains.”
In addition, ANERA managed to reconfigure space to add two much-needed classrooms for the increasing number of students. Some 80 preschoolers arrived for the first week of school and more are expected later this term.
Khetam Brim is one of the mothers who accompanied her daughter Majed to school. She was surprised by how different the school looked since she enrolled her twins there three years ago. “It is more beautiful now. At first Majed didn’t want to go to school but after seeing how beautiful it is, she has her pen and notebook ready every day.”
For toddlers, first days are always hard. But the preschool teachers make the children feel at home. One teacher, who had attended ANERA’s teacher training program in 2006, brought in a parachute and toys and played songs to help the youngsters have fun and relax.
Since 2009, ANERA has renovated 33 preschools in Gaza, thanks to funding from private donors and the United Nations. Dozens more are awaiting repairs.