“It looks so different. I can’t believe it,” said Rola, MFP monitor, upon entering Amjad Preschool for the first time since its renovation by ANERA.
The preschool was in awful shape just a few weeks ago; around 100 preschoolers used to learn in crowded, gloomy classrooms with old wall paint and no doors.
“Because the bathrooms had no doors, we had to install curtains instead,” said Zakia Awad, Amjad Preschool Director. “The preschool had no gate – only a wire fence, which was not safe at all. So the children were forced to use the backdoor. When a child was late for school, they had to knock on the backdoor and hope for someone to hear the knocking and let them in.”
“I have frequently visited this preschool over the past three years, and I used to leave heartbroken over the conditions each time,” said Rola.
“The children learn so many things here. It’s the only preschool around, so it should have a pleasant and comfortable learning environment,” said Zakia.
Now, thanks to ANERA, the preschool has doors, a water tank and water taps. “The parents and I are so happy with these new water taps. The old ones were black and rusty, and installed very high out of the children’s reach; they had to stand on rocks to be able to wash their hands. The water was contaminated, but now we have a tank at the top of the school to store potable water,” added Zakia.
When the children pass by the preschool with their parents, they stop by to take a look inside. They tell Zakia that they can’t wait for the new school year to begin.
Generally, preschools in Gaza are managed by NGOs and local organizations which operate under tough conditions, poverty and limited recourses. Preschools in poor communities are overcrowded and suffer from deteriorated conditions and facilities, which makes the overall learning conditions uncomfortable.
ANERA responds by conducting different degrees of rehabilitation, expansion and, in some cases, complete replacement of facilities. As a result of the lack of building materials in Gaza, such as wood, ANERA used second-hand doors in good condition from the local market in the renovation of Amjad Preschool.
“It is better than nothing. We can’t leave the preschool and the classrooms with no doors. We had to take action,” said ANERA engineer Nahed Al-Wahaidi.
By the end of ANERA preschools’ rehabilitation project, 7,472 preschoolers will be able to learn in better conditions.
“Thanks to ANERA, the new preschool will be my gift to the children the coming year,” said Zakia.