Anne returned to Dheisheh, Al Quds University in April 2013

Photos taken in Dheisheh, Al Quds April 2013

The purpose of the visit was to spend time with the tutors at Al Quds and Bethlehem university that I had met in November 2011, to meet the students we’re currently sponsoring. For part of my visit I stayed in IBDAA within Dheisheh. I also filmed around Dheisheh and Al Quds University so we could prepare a video to upload to the website and also show during fundraising events. I joined Nouar (Al Quds) and her husband for a meal at a local restaurant we continued our conversations about the importance of retraining university teaching staff to better prepare students to debate about their situation. Hala (Bethlehem) spent an afternoon with me including taking me to Aida another camp in Bethlehem. Her students had a deadline for the end of the week to complete an assignment so our conversations were interrupted many times with students, asking for help, asking for extensions, notes for classes they had missed, we could have been in any educational establishment worldwide! At Al Quds I meet all of the four students, Nibal, Marwah, Fadi, Naba, we are currently sponsoring. We talked for a while and then videoed an interview. We are currently completing the editing of these to upload to the website. All students expressed their gratitude for our support. Their determination to succeed in spite of a lack of funding, troubles at check points, hardship of life with in camp shone through. One of the students invited me to an evening meal at his home. The extent of the spread and delicate flavours of the dishes prepared for visits to Palestinian homes is overwhelming.

Because of the evening curfew at checkpoints I decided to stay for part of my visit in Dheisheh. Again I stayed in IBDAA, (John lived and worked here). As soon as I arrived I was met by Khalid the leader of IBDAA and his son Aysar. (John had spent lots of time talking to Khalid and Aysar was one of his students). Aysar now a very engaging young man of 25 who knows everyone in the camp was to be my guide during my stay. On my first evening I joined him to be part of his evening broadcast on Bethlehem radio!. He came with me to both universities, took over the videoing, spoke to the students in Arabic when they couldn’t find the English. Aysar and other students John taught are now part of a project Campus in Camps funded by Al Quds and the German government to explore concepts they are taught at school and university which have very little meaning for the life they lead, for example sustainability when the camp was supposed to be temporary, citizenship when they have none. They too have realised that students need to be taught in a more discursive less prescriptive way. A very successful visit with many rich and extensive discussions, more can be found in the videos below.