Resuming a Hobby of Making Beautiful Designs

Heba attending class with fellow students at the Shohada’ Al-Maghazi school in Gaza

Heba Abdel-Jawad, is a 15 year old attending the tenth grade at Shohada’ Al-Maghazi school in Gaza. She is one of the best students in her school, with a GPA of 98%.

Her family consists of 10 members, “My father is a taxi driver and my mother is a teacher at a government school. I have two sisters: Rawan 22 and Huda 18, we spend most of our nights doing our homework and then cleaning the house,” Heba said.

Highlights

  • According to the Palestinian Ministry of Education, 24 schools were completely destroyed and 190 schools, including 70 UNRWA schools and 120 government schools, have been damaged during the 2014 hostilities. 12 higher education institutions were damaged, in addition to tens of kindergartens.
  • Literacy rate among Palestinians aged 15 years and above is 96.4% (PCBS 2015).
  • In November 2014, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar (MOFA) signed a USD 40 million agreement from the Qatar Development Fund to support Education Above All’s Al Fakhoora programme.
  • USD 21 million were entrusted to UNDP to respond to the current deficit of classrooms in Gaza, focusing on the reconstruction of educational facilities, while ensuring, in cooperation with UNICEF, that they are inclusive and child-friendly learning environments.
  • The ‘Right to Education in the Gaza Strip’ programme, will allow over 600,000 Palestinian children and youth to regain equitable access to quality education by 2016
  • The programme will reinstate educational services within 38 schools out of which 13 are private. It will also include the rehabilitation and reconstruction of five damaged training centres as well as ten universities.

As everyone else who lives in the Gaza Strip, Heba’s daily life routine is tied to the electricity schedule, which is electricity for only six hours a day. Heba’s house is located at the Maghazi area, far away from any playgrounds or libraries. Her three younger brothers used to spend most of their time at home, which makes her house crowded, with less opportunity to study.

The situation inside Heba’s school is not any better as her classroom includes 43 students. “My teacher does not have enough time to answer my questions, as she distributes the class time between 43 students. How can I gain enough attention and respond well to my teacher and the subject,” Heba said. For Many times Heba had to wake up late at night, when the electricity is on to continue her studies in dim light. This affected her sight and she started wearing glasses. “Sometimes I cannot see clearly what is written on the board, especially during winter”.

With financial support from Al Fakhoora – Education Above ALL / Qatar, UNDP is implementing a USD 21 million programme to reconstruct and rehabilitate educational facilities damaged during the 2014 hostilities, and respond to the current deficit of classrooms in Gaza. Approximately, 194 classrooms will be reconstructed, contributing to the alleviation of overcrowding within schools and the reduction of double/triple shifts. In addition, the programme will increase the capacity for mental health care in Gaza and restore the hope of youth by increasing prospects of employment through e-work and leadership and advocacy skills development.

Shohada’ Al-Maghazi school is one of the governmental schools that will benefit from the Right to Education Programme. It is located at Al- Maghazi camp in the middle area of the Gaza Strip. The school is partially damaged due to bombings in nearby neighborhoods, which resulted in its need for rehabilitation and renovation.

UNDP’s intervention in the school includes the construction of six new classrooms and the provision of a renewable energy source, in the form of solar cells in order to address the electricity shortages in the Gaza Strip in an efficient way.

“My hobby is designing PowerPoint presentations. I spend long hours working on them, but when it is show time, there is no electricity in the classroom so it is usually cancelled!” Heba said. “Once renovation works are done, the electricity problem will be something from the past, I cannot wait to feel free to ask questions and design presentations,” Heba added.