Monday 8 December 2014

Media Projects

The boys at the Arab Institute have just started working on media projects. The class has been split off into two groups and they have free reign over what they would like to produce. I'm (Max) working with one group and Rob (the other volunteer) is working with the other group. 

Both groups have chosen to focus on the Israeli occupation and my group have decided on the format of a news channel. They have also designed artwork to convey their messages and prepared information to talk about.

Friday 21 November 2014

This week at the Arab Institute, the students wrote letters to children in England about their lives in Palestine. At the end of their letters they were told to ask a question to people in England. This group of students is very engaged and have so much to say, and as we've been working on their spoken English mainly during the classes, it was now a chance for them to demonstrate their writing skills.

15 year-old Yazan wrote in-depth about the problems that the Israeli occupation causes - from everything to travel restrictions to the everyday killing of Palestinians. His question was: "What do you think of Israel?" which is a question that is rarely asked. It would be very interesting to see how children in England would answer this.

Saleh poured his heart out in his letter and wrote: "I love my country and I may die for it." It would be interesting to see how pupils in London would perceive this and if they understand why Saleh is so passionate about his country.


However, the letters weren't all full of doom and gloom. Yousef wrote about his love of England and British people. He wishes to study at university there and I hope his dreams come true.

My favourite line was from Zain, 15, who wants people in England to change their visions of Palestinians. He wrote: "We want you to know that what happens in Palestine isn't a fight between two equal parties. It's a fight between an occupier and the oppressed." Such insightful, intelligent words from a young man. Reading these letters was quite inspirational. 

Sunday 16 November 2014

Over the past few weeks, 12 students from the ninth grade of the Arab Institute have been engaged in forms of cultural exchange between Britain and Palestine.

We have been giving talks about life in Britain and asking them what they already know about our culture. The students have also been giving their own presentations about life in Palestine and we have all been learning about different cultures together.

Topics that have been discussed include: British and Palestinian traditions, landmarks, sport, food, religion and entertainment.

Below is fourteen-year-old Mohammad, who gave an insightful presentation about Palestinian marriages and the elements involved in the celebration. He talked about the importance of marriage customs, food and dancing (particularly Palestinian dabke).

Saturday 18 October 2014

Anas and Saleh from the Arab Institute visit Camden

In early October,  school students from Abu Dis Boys' School and from the Arab Institute were part of a CADFA group of visitors to London and the north of England.  It was a great visit for them and for us in London. 

Their project blog is HERE.

As part of their visit they went to schools and youth clubs. This is a picture of them and school students at a school in Pendle, Lancashire.

In Camden, they met many young people and several students from LSU took part in the visit.  

Their visit included 

a lunchtime visit to LSU!

and an assembly at Camden School for Girls. The young people made a presentation about their lives in Palestine. After that they had a tour of the school and were really impressed.

Wednesday 18 December 2013


For the past three months the Arab Institute, grade 11, have been busy doing many activities to practise their English. Recently they have been learning ways to improve their CVs and preparing for job interviews, in English, for University. Some of the students have also contributed to writing for the annual CADFA newsletter. Grade 11 took centre stage at break time in a rival football match between the Science and Humanities class. Also, a few weeks ago, one of the students offered to take me and Robert, the new volunteer in Abu Dis, around Jerusalem for the day, which we really enjoyed. Today the class were introduced to Lawson, one of the new volunteers here.

More recently Abu Dis has been affected by storm Alexa which has brought heavy snow and rain to many parts of Palestine. For at least 3 days the roads have been closed because they are dangerous or blocked with snow. Ramallah had at least half a metre of snow and the bus station there has been closed. I got stuck in Azuun, a town near Qualqelia because there were no buses back to Abu Dis meaning I missed my class at the Arab Institute.

Unfortunately it is not long until I pack my bags and head back to Britain. 3 months in Palestine has gone very quickly and I have really enjoyed teaching at the Arab Institute. The staff have been very welcoming and have given me a great experience, and the students are full of ideas and are very talented in lots of subjects, including speaking English. I hope you can welcome the new volunteers to your school and continue to improve links between the UK and Palestine.

Grade 11 say goodbye

The view from Arab Institute

Saturday 26 October 2013


Today (Wednesday) the boys at Arab Institute wanted to talk about their experiences of a terrible situation that happened near the school and University in Abu Dis. 
Soldiers came on Tuesday evening to destroy a house that was "too close" to the Separation Wall. By around 9.00 o'clock in the morning the local people came to demonstrate against the demolition of the house. 
In response the Israeli military fired tear gas and fired rubber bullets at the protesters. By 10.00 o'clock the University,  Arab Institute and Abu Dis Boys School, which are located near to the demonstration, had to be evacuated because the tear gas was suffocating the students and it was dangerous to stay.
Some students were in exams at the time and others were in lessons which caused distress and stopped them from learning. This has happened many times this year. 

The students have written a short account of what happened, which are uploaded below.

Tuesday 22 October 2013


Today the students from the 11th grade at Arab Institute were introduced to the twinning project. The class has around 15 students who speak good English and are excited about making contact with students in London. They all wrote a short message to the students in London to introduce themselves and to ask questions. Some of these messages are below…

“Hi my name is Ahmed. I’m from the West Bank, Palestine, and I’m 16 years old. I bet that you’re younger than me… anyway, I like playing video games and many other things.”

“Hi!! My name is Salamey and I live near Jerusalem. I’m 16 years old and I love many subjects in school such as English and Mathematics. I want to ask you what problems you have in your life ? Also, how do you think the Israelis treats us?”

“My name is Yousef and I’m from Jerusalem. I’m interested in sports. I’m 17 years old. I’d like to know how life is in London? I have a friend who is from London and we talk every day on skype. He is living in Bahrain now and he can speak Arabic, so we use Arabic when we are chatting.”

“My name is Amar. I am 17 years old. I live in Jerusalem in Isawia which is 30 km from the school and on the way there is an Israeli checkpoint. It takes me 40 minutes every day to get to school. I would like to know what school is like for you?”

“My name is Saleh and I’m 17 years old. I want to be a photographer like my father to post what happens in Palestine from the occupation. I want to ask the students in London, how do you feel towards Palestinian people?”