HeadStart Campaign - 22 days to save our School in Greece

This post comes from: Yair Leibel, Head of our Education Delegation, Lesbos Greece

Four months ago we went to Greece to set up a school for refugee children on Lesbos Island in Greece.

When we got to the island we found a difficult reality. We did not find hungry children nor did we find children in mortal danger, but we found hundreds of children growing up in a world of uncertainty.  A world where you do not have the feeling that someone is there to make sure you're okay. Children who grow up in a world that humanity has forgotten or at least does not like to look at.

Four months ago, I went to one of the camps on the island and together with my friend Yusef Kabha, we brought a pack of handicraft activities for a few of the children who were wandering around the camp. That day we met our first students. We sat down with them to make a god’s eye yarncraft and I felt embarrassed. Who am I and who are we that come here, open an activity pack and think we have the right to educate in this place? Who gave us the mandate? Two of the first children we met were Arash and Anoosha. A brother and sister from Afghanistan who settled down and started playing with us. Just like that. Because they had nothing else to do.

When we opened the school two months ago, Arash and Anoosha were the first to register. They had never gone to school before. While Arash would have gone to go to school if the family had stayed in Afghanistan; Anoosha would not have, since they fled an area where the Taliban does not allow girls to go to school.

In the last two months we have had the privilege of meeting fifty children who come to study every day. They love their teachers, they do their homework and they fall in love with each other.

Last week, a new Afghan girl joined the school and yesterday one of the Syrian students informed us that he wanted to move to the Afghan classroom. At first we did not understand why, but during recess I saw him leaving the school with a cup of cold water and serving it to this girl. She smiled at him and her friends giggled nearby, making little heart signs with their hands.

Our school is an international school of students from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Kuwait and Congo. The lessons are taught in Arabic, Persian and French, and our teaching staff consists of people from five countries and seven different ethnic groups. They are all refugees.

This is a group of people who succeed against all odds to create together a heart of human cooperation and fraternity where we would least expect to find them. The word "refugees" is a demeaning word. We do not work with pitiful people. We work with heroes and heroines who, after everything they have gone through in their lives, choose to volunteer and teach every day.

We raised the money for the establishment of the school thanks to a wide group of people who decided to trust us and send us on this mission. Together with them we collected a quarter of a million shekels that enabled us to set up the school and operate it. After touching the souls of so many children and families, we understand that we did not come here by accident and that we must continue our school activities. We need your help to continue.

We have launched a new fundraising campaign through the HeadStart website.

We have 22 days to find out if we need to close the school or whether we can continue the activity for yet another period of time.

If you can afford just 50 shekels to support our project and if you believe in a world of growth and cooperation, then join us. Share with your friends, your groups and together with you we can continue our school and allow more big and small hearts to find the peace and calm  needed to enjoy some more carefree moments of childhood and life. To find calm and to grow .

To support the school:

https://www.headstart.co.il/project.aspx?id=23714&lan=en-US

To the Facebook page :

https://www.facebook.com/RefugeeEducationCenter/