New Israeli-Palestinian grants from peace charity


A British charity will fund five projects for co-existence in Israel and the Palestinian territories, including a bi-lingual version of West Side Story and filmmaking for Bedouin children.

The five groups, which operate in Gaza, Jordan, Israel and the West Bank, have been awarded grants of undisclosed amounts (but running into thousands) by Children Of Peace, a non-partisan charity.

The charity has more than 80 affiliate groups working in the region which belong to its “Coalition of Peace”. Founded by Richard Martin in 2004, Children Of Peace’s patrons include Madonna and Dame Judi Dench.

One grant recipient, Peace Child Israel, will use the funds to produce a bi-lingual version of West Side Story, to be performed to Jewish and Arab high school students in 2012. PCI’s Melissa Lewine-Boskovich said the production would be part of their “Du-Drama” youth programme, where neighbouring schools rehearse and perform a bi-lingual play.

The second recipient is the Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality, founded jointly by Arab and Jewish residents of Be’ersheva for digital story-telling projects, described by co-ordinator Karen Douglas as an “initiative that will provide a group of Bedouin children with the skills, equipment and platform needed to use video as a means to bring about positive social change.

Through video photography, impoverished and disadvantaged children will have the opportunity to speak out about their situation.” Children Of Peace will fund a series of workshops with 10 children to produce short films.

Grant recipient BHAA/Gaza provide health and social activities for communities in Gaza, including maternity care, run by Dr Mohammed Lehia. Children Of Peace founder Mr Martin called the charity “remarkable” and said: “Against all of the odds they carry out inspirational work.”

The final two charities which will receive grants are Physicians for Human Rights and St John's Eye Hospital. The money will fund medicines and supplies for PHR’s free West Bank clinic for disadvantaged Palestinian families.

Money will also help the St John of Jerusalem Eye hospital correct squints amongst Palestinian girls. It is the only eye care provider in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Geoff Jarvis of the St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital Group, said: “Despite the chronic stalemate in negotiations towards a solution to the political situation in the region, the St John Eye Hospital Group is very lucky to have the support and sympathy of a good friend in Children Of Peace.”

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