South Hebron Hills, Zif Junction

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Mira B. (reporting) and Muhammad driving;Translator: Natanya

Amal’s kindergarten

The object of the shift: the creative activity during the olive harvest at the Amal's kindergarten

The kindergarten is situated in Kafar Zif which is known for its political awareness. As has been written before, the kindergarden is that of Amal who founded it as part of her home. The parents here  pay a certain sum (small) for their children , a sum that is not nearly enough for the funding and running of the kindergarten.  In the past our friends have brought clothes, a shed, colouring materials and other materials to Amal.  Amal is crying out for help with such necessities but up to now there has been no shared activities. In the tense political situation of the Hebron hills and especially in a village such as Zif which is on the border of Yatta, it is easy to imagine the ambivalent attitude towards us where there is also suspicion. The activity this time has been coordinated with Amal who asked us to come.

We went straight to the kindergarten at the crossroads of Zif. The kindergartens consists of two classes according to age, 4 and 5. The activities are carried out in two rooms which are rather small. In the room for the smaller children are tables in the middle of the room  which form a square and the children sit around this. In the room for the 5 years old they sit two by two behind tables in lines (as in a school).Besides these two rooms is an entrance room which is not large and empty and the walls are also bare and are not painted. There is also a yard with some playground facilities, paving and a shed. Our activities took place in the room of the older children . Besides Amal there is also Rana, a young and active young woman.

We suggested to Amal carefully to organize the tables as integrated units so that a more comfortable space will be formed, more  conducive to work and activity and which would  also give a more comfortable atmosphere. She agreed. But it was clear that a joint seating on the mat (or on a carpet) if they have one was out of the question.

Amal told a sort of story about the cultivation of the olive tree, while she shows the book to the children now and again. The children cooperated very nicely even though it was hard to see from the distance. The activities include pasting pieces of leaves and olives from paper and material  and also the pasting of olive leaves, painting and the pasting of brown crepe paper, on the draft of an olive tree printed on a big page A3. Amal did not agree to sending the children outside to bring ground for pasting. The children carried out the activity with much enthusiasm but with less enthusiasm on the part of Amal. Generally it can be said that there is no creative activity in the kindergarten. The children have never used plastic glue or scissors, for example. There is an exaggerated desire of the staff to keep the room clean. Also the photographs we took aroused suspicion. It is necessary to make more visits and activities so as to lessen this suspicion but we will wait for Amal to invite us. At the end we hung the pictures provisionally as the kindergarten is not geared to hang children’s pictures.

Summary: Amal expects contributions of paint to paint the walls of the kindergarten, apparatus for the running of the place, contributions to a shed and the garden outside.

We went on to Umm el Kheir to see what had been rehabilitated from the destruction. The caravan for the children has not been built. At this stage there is no kindergarten.

Pictures of the activities: Album of 22.9 in the archives of the kindergartens.