Here are excerpts from one of Vicky's interviews.
Posted by vickyrossi on 16th November 2006
With best wishes from Bethlehem The Hope Flowers School is a unique institution where students receive a human-rights based education alongside the formal national curriculum. The school is located in Al-Khader, a village on the outskirts of Bethlehem. It was founded in 1984 by Hussein Issa, a Palestinian man whose family was forced to flee their home in 1948 following the violence that marked the inauguration of the State of Israel. Since 2001, the school has been run by his son Ibrahim, who continues to ensure that the 250+ pupils at the school receive peace education alongside the mandatory school curriculum. The school is open to pupils aged 4-13.
Excerpts of the interview with Ibrahim Issa:
"Regarding peace, democracy, nonviolence, leadership, empowerment, these are all elements in peace education. Two years ago we began to ask ourselves, 'What is the common theme of all these topics?' and 'What's the purpose of education in general?' We decided that the purpose of education is the wellbeing of the human being and to contribute to human development. We also decided that the common ground for these subjects of peace education is human rights."
"We define here that every act of violence is the result of an unhealed wound. In order to prevent a future escalation of violence, to restore peace and calmness within the human being and also to prepare the ground for a future reconciliation, we need here to heal the traumas."
"At Hope Flowers we focus on the Palestinian-Israeli aspect because fear and stigmatising starts when people don't meet, don't interact with each other. This is why we always defend our model because you can't create peace while you are isolated, while one is here and the other is there. [...]... from the very first day that the school was established here we started to create contacts and to build partnerships with Israeli schools, organisations and individuals, who believe in peace and coexistence. We had an Israeli volunteers programme before the Intifada. We have also open days here in the Hope Flowers School for Israelis, who want to come and listen and see what we are doing. In 1999, before the Intifada, we had 700 Israelis visit the school - just to hear what we are doing here."
"You know students are very much affected by the opinions of their teachers. If teachers say, 'All Palestinians are bad' then students will grow up with that idea, but if the teacher chooses tolerance and respect for all humans, saying that even if we have differences we can resolve our differences in a peaceful way, then that is a very positive model for the students."
"We teach that all humans have the right to live irrespective of their religion, colour or nationality and that we can share this land together, coexisting here together, able to see each other as human beings. It is very important that our students and the Israeli students also see this very general common ground - that we are all humans and that we all have the right to live. This is the way we get beyond history and religion." Read the rest of this entry -