AVSI Holds Final Ceremony for the Project "Support the Emergency of Education in the Palestinian Territories"

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Bethlehem/ PNN

AVSI Foundation held on Friday, 28th February 2014, the final ceremony of the three year project "Support the emergency of education in the Palestinian Territories of East Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Jericho", funded by the Italian Government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The ceremony was held at Terra Sancta School in Jericho, in the presence of the Custodian of the Holy Land, Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Consul General of Italy, Davide La Cecilia, the Director of Education Directorate in Jericho, Mr. Mohamed Hawash, the UNICEF Chief Learning for Development, Terry Durnnian, and the General Secretary of AVSI Foundation Gianpaolo Silvestri.

The overall objective of the project, held in Bethlehem, Jericho and East Jerusalem, is to promote understanding among people and to contribute to the improvement of living conditions of the Palestinian people through the promotion of dialogue and peace through education.

In particular, the project aims to increase and strengthen educational opportunities, while at the same time fostering cultural development of young students, educators and families, paying particular attention to those who are the most disadvantaged.

The project targeted 14 private and other public educational institutions: 4 in East Jerusalem, 5 in Bethlehem and 5 in Jericho, from Kindergarten until the 12th grade.

The final beneficiaries are 6.739 students of which 515 are disabled children; 532 received school scholarships every year; 1495 teachers and 784 families received training and 160 scholarships have been granted to Universities every year.

The project was implemented in partnership with AVSI Foundation, the Custody of the Holy Land and ATS pro Terra Sancta through two kinds of activities:

1. Educational: providing training programmes for teachers and social workers aiming at improving the professional skills of teachers, social workers and parents, increasing and enhancing extra-curricular activities for students, supporting parenting skills, supporting school attendance of the most disadvantaged (109 training sessions for teachers, 136 activities for students, 19 workshops for parents).

2. Structures and facilities: supporting renovation of school buildings and purchase of equipments and teaching or educational tools.

The project has a strong component for inclusion of people with disabilities, working with local associations to create a curriculum adapted to accommodate learners with disabilities.

The goal is to create a "focus group" made of a group of teacher representatives from all the partner schools to become reference points for inclusive classrooms where disability will never be a reason to exclude a child.

In 2013, in order to respond to the ongoing need for inclusive education, the Italian Cooperation approved the project "Embracing diversity – inclusive education programme to encompass special needs in Palestinian Schools" for a total amount of 3.133 Million Euro, for which activities will start over the next few months.

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