Faisal Husseini Foundation launched a call to action that aspires to support 146 schools serving around 46,000 students in East Jerusalem.
The campaign aims at its first phase to raise USD$ 5 million from private donors to provide students & teachers with Laptops to allow them to conduct remote learning during the upcoming school year in the midst of an ever-lurking COVID 19 pandemic.
The campaign is themed “Buy time for Jerusalem Schools” which was inspired by the call to action issued in the year 2000 by the late Faisal Husseini when he called upon the private sector and philanthropists in the Arab World to “Buy Time in East Jerusalem”.
This call to action was one way to create attention and provide a mechanism to provide financial support to both Palestinian institutions and people to survive the Israeli occupation and encroachments on the city until the time it becomes a free city serving as the capital of the future Palestinian State.
At the time, Faisal Husseini estimated that East Jerusalem needed an annual budget of USD$ 30 million a year to preserve its Arab Palestinian Character. So if you divide this amount into months and days: the city needed USD$2.5 million per month and USD$ 85,000 per day and USD$3,600 per hour, USD$60 per minute, and USD$ 1 per second. So every USD1$ you donate prolongs the city’s Palestinian Arab character by one second.
Today the Foundation is revitalizing this idea to help support Jerusalem schools. According to a study it conducted during the first wave of the pandemic, the Foundation estimated the cost for providing needed computers and developing the infrastructure at the targeted 146 schools in Jerusalem at USD$14.5 million. The Foundation also estimated that such an amount would need a year to collect. This means that the needed amount of donations is USD$40,000 per day, USD$1666 per hour, and USD$28 per minute. So by donating USD$28 dollars one is buying a minute for schools in Jerusalem. By donating half an hour one is providing a computer to a teacher or a student for 4 years in East Jerusalem.
The Foundation believes that individuals can buy minutes and hours, while companies can buy days and weeks, and larger institutions can buy months. Certainly, COVID 19 aggravated the city’s already existing challenges when it came to health and education services. However, the Faisal Husseini Foundation decided to focus on education in order to preserve students from losing their access to education. “The Buy Time for Jerusalem Schools” campaign was launched after a survey conducted by the Foundation on the experience of the Holy City’s schools during the first wave of the pandemic in March-May 2020. The study estimated that local schools in the city were not able to reach 35% of the student body during remote learning days, either because of lack of devices, lack of internet connectivity, or because of lack of school teachers with the skill sets to use modern technology.
Abdel Qader Husseini, Chairman of the Foundation said: “in order to save the school year and prevent the degradation of the academic life for thousands of students in the Holy City, we sought to launch this call to action to assist the schools in coping with the needs for remote learning at the first phase and for safe student presence in schools at a later phase. Every school needs the technology for its teachers in addition to social distancing measures and every household needs at least one laptop and high-speed internet connectivity.
We want to reach a target of USD$5 million as an initial milestone to allow more time and thrust for Jerusalem schools in the face of new challenges. “We need 6,655 laptops for both students and teachers with 8% of students and teachers needing high-speed internet in addition to training of teachers alike on the intricacies of remote teaching and learning in Schools.
We aim to have Schools develop a safe environment equipping schools with fixtures that ensure healthier social distancing in the school-learning environment as per the hybrid strategy to be deployed by schools in the city.
The campaign was launched on September 1st and will cover all of September and October 2020 targeting local residents of the city, diaspora Palestinians plus corporate or individual donors from the Arab world.