This is a story about a beautiful little school in a poor village called Khan Al-Ahmar not far from Jerusalem. Part of what makes this school special is that it is made out of old car tires and mud! It is really cool!
Now I know it doesn’t look like tires and mud, but in this picture you can see how it was done. How would you like to go to school here? For the children of this village, this is a very special school. They love it, and they are very proud. In this story, I am going to tell you why.
My friends and I visited a family in this village last week. They live near a busy road which is very dangerous. The people who live here are called Bedouin. They live in tents and take care of sheep and goats. Even though they do not have very much, they like to share what they have.
We sat with them in their tent, and one of the younger girls served us a special tea! It had lots of sugar and fresh mint, and it was delicious. I think you would have liked it!
For a long time, the children in this village did not have a school. The older ones sometimes had to travel by donkey 2 hours each way to school since the school bus often did not show up! The younger ones could not go to school because it was too far.
The people who make the rules in this country refused to give this village permission to build a school because they want the people to leave and go live somewhere else so that they can build their own houses on this land. But these families have lived here for a long, long time (over 60 years!), and they do not want to move.
Three years ago, some very kind people from around the world decided that these children needed a place to learn. They collected money and came to help the people in this village build this special school out of car tires and mud. The children were so happy! Now all the children in primary school have a place to learn. There is even enough space for children from 4 nearby villages to attend school here.
But now people in the government who make the rules want to tear the school down because they say that the villagers did not ask permission to build this school. But the truth is that they did ask, but they were told, “No, we will not allow you to build a school.” Now people from around the world are trying to help this village save this special school.
Last Thursday the judge in the law courts decided to put off making a decision. This is partly because people around the world are sharing this story and the judges and the rulers in the government are afraid that it will not look good for them if they tear down this school.
This means that for now the school is safe! The children are very happy that they can begin this new school year in their special school. It is important that we continue to share this story with people so that we can help save this school. Part of my work is to try and help children be able to go to school safely so that they can learn and grow.
For a youtube video on the Jahalin Bedouin click here. You can also read this article or google “Jahalin Bedouin” or “Jahalin Tire School.” Note: These sites are not updated with any recent information about the postponement by the High Court of Justice on September 13.
I am wondering how I can help save this school. I am sending your email to my friends.
P.S. A great big polar bear hug to you!!
Hi Aaron: Thanks so much for your note (and for the polar bear hug!)… I have asked my friends in Jerusalem if they know of any international petitions or other things that we can do. I will let you know what I find out.
Thanks for reading my blog!
Hugs back to you,
I wish those people in Edmonton who are worried abot over crowding or an hour travel on a bus had a sense of the difficulties these young people endure to get some education. Thanks for sharing.
I am wondering if anyone has contacted UNESCO! Their involvement would ensure the school does not get torn down and they likely will help with supplies etc. It would make the government mad but it would draw the world’s attention and few wish to engage the negative voice of the UN.
I love the school the kids made. I wonder how they decided to make it out of tires and mud. Would those kids like some pencils, crayons or some decorations from Canada? I have lots I can share.
(from Ben typed by Mummy)
(that part typed by himself!)
Hi Ben: Thanks for your note! I think they made the school out of tires and mud because the people don’t have much money and tires and mud are pretty cheap! Old tires are easy to get. And mud is easy to make. Plus the mud helps the school stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer… If you want to send a few things for the children with Nancy, that would be super great! … I hope you are enjoying school. I miss you!
A steamroller hug!