When Principal Reem El-Bohesy opened the new pink door of her Gaza preschool to welcome her 67 students, she noticed that they were unusually excited.
I wasn’t sure what was happening. I asked myself, is this because of the new pink door or do my wonderful children have a surprise waiting for me?”
For Reem, little jokes provide a small break from the toughness of life in Gaza. “I love children. When I see them in the morning my spirits are lifted. I wish I could stay with them for the rest of my life. Children represent life, love and innocence,” she said.
Reem’s main concern was the outdated and tattered canopy covering the playground, and the hazards it posed to the children. Providing clean water to the children was another one of her concerns. “We had a dilapidated water fountain, and our taps weren’t any better. Sometimes, yellow water would pour out of them.” The water problem was made worse during the recent Gaza war when the preschool’s main water storage tank was bombed.
All of Reem’s worries faded when she learned that Anera was going to renovate the preschool. “It felt great to know that finally our tears would be wiped away and these problems fixed,” she said.
Thanks to funding from Dubai Cares, the children at Hekayat Preschool are now enjoying the vibrant atmosphere of the freshly painted preschool. They walked in line as a human train to take a tour of the new preschool. They first visited the classrooms, then the water fountains, took a little peak at the bathrooms, and finally stopped at the play area where they decided to spend the rest of the day. “I love the way they are talking about all the details they notice and are asking lots of questions about what’s been done,” said Reem.
Now that the playground area is covered and protected, she does not need to worry in the summer or winter about the children being cramped indoors.
Hekayat preschoolers are also taking part in Anera’s post-war, one-month program that provided reached more than 2,000 children at 15 preschools in Gaza. To help them cope with the after-effects of the things they experienced during the war, the kids engaged in activities like art for therapy, music, puppets, drama and games at their newly renovated preschool.