Providing back-to-school kits for Palestinian and Israeli children who cannot afford these essential school supplies, and thereby offerring them opportunities to advance their learning and education.
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The Peres Center currently seeks 5,000 GBP in order to provide 500 ‚ÄúBack-to-School Kits‚Äù to the most needy Palestinian and Israeli children who participate in the ‚ÄúTwinned Peace Sport Schools‚Äù program. Background on ‚ÄúTwinned Peace Sport Schools‚Äù program The Peres Center for Peace, together with Palestinian partner organization the Al-Quds Association for Democracy and Dialogue, operate the ‚ÄúTwinned Peace Sport Schools‚Äù program, which reaches out to thousands of Israeli and Palestinian children and youth. Catering to boys aged 6 to 13, and girls aged 9 to 13, this after-school program imparts the values of peace and mutual understanding, encourages acceptance of cultural differences, and breaks down negative stereotypes. The program includes 4 components: (1) Sport Training (football or basketball); (2) Peace Education Activities; (3) An Inter-Cultural Language Learning Program; and (4) Joint Palestinian-Israeli Sporting and Social Activities. The youth meet separately within their respective communities approximately 3-4 times weekly to participate in the first three components of the program and come together approximately once every three weeks for joint sporting and social activities. During these joint sporting activities, the children compete in mixed Palestinian-Israeli teams, thereby practicing teamwork and partnership with their new friends. The program, which was launched in 2002 with a mere 70 participants on each side, currently reaches some 1,600 Israeli and Palestinian youth, and touches the lives of thousands more secondary and indirect beneficiaries (coaches, family members, community members, mayors etc). The Peres Center focuses on disadvantaged and peripheral communities for involvement in this program. Both the municipalities themselves and the residents of such communities have very limited financial means, and cannot afford any recreational planning whatsoever, leaving the children and youth without productive frameworks within which to grow and develop. Accordingly, such communities are in dire need of extracurricular, safe, educational activities. Rationale for ‚ÄúBack-to-School Kits‚Äù and Description of Kit An increasing number of Israeli and Palestinian families and communities have slipped below the poverty line over the last few years. These families cannot afford basic products and services, and struggle to meet the needs of their children as they commence the new academic year. These lower socio-economic status communities are precisely the communities in which the ‚ÄúTwinned Peace Sport Schools‚Äù program is active. In response to the deteriorating economic and social situation in Israeli and Palestinian communities, the Peres Center for Peace endeavours to distribute 500 "Back-to-School Kits" to the most needy participants of the ‚ÄúTwinned Peace Sport Schools‚Äù program. These kits contain essential school supplies ‚Äì including a backpack, notebooks, a pencil case, pencils, markers and crayons, a ruler, a sharpener, the multiplication table, and more ‚Äì which the recipients could otherwise not afford. The ‚ÄúBack-to-School Kits‚Äù are distributed at the beginning of the academic year (in the first month or two of the program), thereby assisting the youngsters to commence their school year with a positive start. The ‚ÄúBack-to-School Kits‚Äù provide the children with materials necessary for advancing in the scholastic framework, and also serve to inspire the children to reach their highest academic goals. At the same time, they provide practical assistance to these families from lower socio-economic backgrounds, introducing such families to the activities of moderate peacebuilding organizations and thereby strengthening their belief in the value of pursuing peaceful relations.
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