By: Rawan Bisharat – Project Coordinator
It was a normal day, when I went to a school in Tel Aviv in the conclusion of our 4-workshop pilot, held in a mixed class of Palestinian and Jewish students, also including an immigrant from Ivory Coast.
I met with the school’s Life Skills Coordinator and Principal in order to discuss the educational process the students went through and evaluate our cooperation. The workshop program was facilitated by Sapir and Nizar in both Arabic and Hebrew. I attended all the meetings, and watching from the sidelines felt like sitting in front of the TV screen, once in a while going inside it and helping the editors.
Throughout the program the students experienced a shake-up of emotions, anger, fear but also showed great openness for change and for renewed thinking about everything. In the first meeting, the school Coordinator said: “Why is Arabic present? The Arabs should translate themselves or speak in Hebrew as it is the official language in our school.” We heard similar words from the Jewish students who took part. Today, after the process was complete, we could clearly see the change in attitude as the Coordinator said: “I understand that the Arabs need to continue speaking Arabic, it is very important to them, it is their mother-tongue. I, as a teacher, should study Arabic.”
Even more thrilling was the change I could feel amongst the youth. Answering our survey marking the end of the program, they wrote: “I want to learn how to be less racist”, “I don’t want the reality outside to repeat itself in our classroom”, “We have to fight the existing inequality and discrimination”. I felt that they started to think about how to take responsibility and try to change reality.
At the end of the meeting, the principal asked our assistance in planning, together with the school’s educational staff, an alternative memorial day ceremony. He said: “I found in Sadaka-Reut a partner and a place to turn to. You thought you came to us for a one-time event, but I realize we have found partners for the long run with you.”