Voice lost unless funding found

One Voice's Sharon Alsoodani and Israeli and Palestinian visitors taking their message into school

One Voice's Sharon Alsoodani and Israeli and Palestinian visitors taking their message into school

A programme taking Israeli and Palestinian speakers to British schools is under threat of closure through lack of funds.

Close on 600 pupils at state schools in London, Manchester and Birmingham have participated in the One Voice seminars since the organisation's recent expansion to include activities involving the under-18s.

The Israeli-based charity trains thousands of Israeli and Palestinian youth leaders to promote practical solutions to the conflict in the region.

Its UK arm organises video chats with the youth leaders, as well as bringing over representatives to meet and answer questions from school groups.

A grant from the Rayne Foundation enabled the expansion into schools, but the programme will end in December unless £20,000 is raised.

Programme director Sharon Alsoodani said it gave teenagers from polarised communities the chance to learn together about Middle East issues.

"If communities in the UK have an Israeli or Palestinian telling them something, it carries an authority. The human element makes it very real for participants. They can ask whatever they want to people who are of a relatable age.

"We've had so much success and teachers have even approached us asking us to come in," she added.

"It's had a really good reaction - we don't want to lose that."

    Last updated: 11:51am, August 18 2011