When the 170 preschoolers at Al Amal School left for summer break, their teachers promised a “new” school when they returned in the fall.
With ANERA’s help, their promise has come true. After three weeks of repairs and some fresh paint, the preschool looks in tip-top shape. Al Amal is the largest school in Bani Suheila village, located near Khan Younis in southern Gaza.
“The preschool was in dire need of repair,“ explained Al Amal Director Sanaa Qdeih. “Bathrooms were too small. Our only drinking fountain was located inside the bathroom, which was not healthy for the children or the teachers.”
Now each classroom is clean and brightly painted, bathrooms are fixed and expanded. An additional drinking fountain was built in the playground. One teacher says she is relieved by the renovations, explaining that one of the building’s columns was cracked after the school was damaged during the 2009 Gaza War. “We feared it would collapse at any moment,” said Inaam.
Director Qdeih has spent 22 years at the preschool and is proud of its new look. She especially likes the blackboard. “We had an old green board and the chalk never moved smoothly on it. Now we have a new blackboard where the children can easily practice writing the alphabet in English and Arabic.” She also appreciates the new wood molding that winds around the center of the walls to protect the freshly painted walls from chairs banging against them
The director’s dedication to the school is evident. “My passion for teaching children inspires me every day. Although I have seven children of my own to care for, I eagerly come to Al Amal to take care of my students too.”
In the past year and a half ANERA has renovated 31 preschools, 22 funded by ANERA and nine funded by OCHA. More preschools are due for repair work in the months to come.