Zaatari Camp Library Project
Organized by: Jackie Jenkins
We talk about it a lot as educators and parents but today I really saw what it is, what it means to dig deep and push on with a smile on your face and a belief in a better tomorrow even when faced with war on your doorstep and trauma in your past.
I have been waiting to go to the camps with Rob since I arrived and today I had the privilege of meeting some of the most outstanding and dedicated people who work for UNICEF and other NGOs daily serving families in need. I was in awe of their commitment and passion for working for what is good and right in the world.
We went to see water sanitation facilities and delivery trucks, which was fascinating, but we also went to see some of the schools...which of course was perfect for me. I was in my element the minute we walked through the gates. While Rob went to look at the status of classroom desks, play space construction and water in the latrines, I wanted to see some kids. I met two incredible principals of the girls section of school (girls go in the morning, boys in the afternoon). They told me that the Ministry of Education has done an excellent job at getting them all the teaching materials they need and that the school was in good condition. But class sizes are a problem...and so we began to walk.....
Grade 2 had more than 100 students in a classroom . Girls sit three to a bench with the overflow sitting on the floor. When I walked in, they burst into a song, which I am sure I was meant to stand and smile at...but you know me, I can't help myself around small people so I just started dancing all over the place, up the aisles and in the front...there was much laughter about that! Kids, they are the same everywhere...but these ones just deserve a whole lot better after what they have been through.
From there, I met the most incredible woman, Iman. She singlehandedly built a Library in one of the containers, she painted it, collected wood to build shelves and is now looking for books. She spoke good enough English for me to understand her dreams and passion and for me to tell her "it is women like you who will change the world. You already are." And then....she cried, I cried...and I promised her I would fill that room with books, Arabic and English.
So I am now on a mission. If she can do that, and they can teach 100 students in a classroom without a complaint after walking out of their country affected by war, I can help her fill a Library with books.
Please join me in making this Library come to life! We have already provided hundreds of English language picture books and we would like to fill the remainder of the space with both Arabic and English fiction and non-fiction texts.