Posted by: Harold Knight | 01/18/2014

A Haven for Palestinian children in Jerusalem

Children of Rawdat El-Zuhur School

Children of Rawdat El-Zuhur School


Rawdat El-Zuhur is a non-governmental non-profit women’s organization that supervises Rawdat El-Zuhur elementary school and kindergarten in East Jerusalem, which serves mainly the lower income community.


The following is a letter received today from Samia Khoury who was for many years the chair of the organization that runs Rawdat El-Zuhur School in Jerusalem. I have never used this blog to appeal for contributions for any cause. Today I dispense with that tradition.

Please read Samia’s letter and join me in supporting Rawdat El-Zuhur School in Jerusalem. Information about donations is at the end of Samia’s letter. Thank you. Harold Knight

Computer class

Computer class


Dear Friends:  I am writing this urgent appeal with a cringe in my heart worrying about the future of  Rawdat El-Zuhur School.   Many of you will remember how often I spoke about the school as  I served as president of the society that runs the school for seventeen years until I retired in 2004.  But my commitment to the school never waivered because Rawdat El-Zuhur was established by a visionary woman with  a specific mission  in 1952.  More now than ever, Rawdat El-Zuhur  continues to have a purpose especially  with the ongoing onslaught on Jerusalem.

One of our visitors described it once as an oasis in the midst of the violence and injustice of  the occupation.  Another friend of the school wrote at one time to say:  “When I get  pessimistic and worried about the condition of Palestine and Jerusalem Palestinians, I find thinking of Rawdat El-Zuhur is a message of the strong heartbeat  still continuing there. Life will continue and flourish for you all in your homeland.  It is sustained not by might , not by power, but by spirit – and you are the keepers and nourishers of that spirit. Our graduates all over the country are a living testimony of that spirit.

Rawdat El Zuhur organization was established in 1952 in response to pressing needs within the Jerusalem Community to work with unprivileged and destitute  women and girls, who were literally begging on the streets to earn a living.  Elizabeth Nasir, a social worker at the time was committed to provide shelter and basic skills for those young girls to help them earn a decent living

The work of the organization was developed in 1967 to address an urgent need for schools following the occupation of Jerusalem.  An elementary school, KG through 6th grade, developed to cater for children (girls and boys) who came from low-income families.  Our mission was to provide for those children  quality education that focuses on good citizenship within an atmosphere of love and safety.

The school was able to draw the attention and support of some donor organizations and friends from inside and outside the country, who helped in the establishment of an endowment in recognition of the founder of Rawdat El Zuhur, the late Elizabeth Nasir.  A sponsorship program was established and a big part of it was adopted by BibleLands until the past two years, when they decided to gradually stop their funds and direct them to organizations affiliated with local churches.  The funds from the endowment were set as a compensation fund for teachers, and part of the interest was used to cover the deficit.  We used those funds to bridge the gap arising from the difference of fees paid and  the actual cost of running the school.  However, due to the global financial crisis, interest as well as donations were diminishing that we were forced to draw from the principal investment to cover our yearly deficit.  The pressure being exerted on the Palestinian Authority as well as the international NGO’s not to include Jerusalem in their aid programs has been a great concern.

Rawdat El Zuhur is facing a very serious financial situation that is threatening its existence.  Although our students are from a low-income community,  they deserve to have  quality education that will pave the present for a better and hopeful future.

The yearly school budget is in the range of $550,000-570,000.  The cost for maintaining a child is in the range of $2500.  We would greatly appreciate it if you could make a donation either towards the general budget or towards the sponsorship program to cover the cost of a child  or part of it.  No matter how small or large your donation is, it will help fill the pot and assure us that someone out there cares for those children. We know some of you have already made  a gift for this year, and for that we are very thankful.  Of course you can always make your gift in honor of somebody or in memory of a dear person.

Donations with tax exemption in the USA can be sent through  the Global Ministries.  Please make your check  to WIDER CHURCH MINISTRIES with a cover letter to the attention of Dr. Peter Makari at the address below, indicating that the contribution is for Rawdat El-Zuhur. 876530520Reflections_COVER_FINAL_WEB

Dr. Peter E. Makari, Executive, Middle East and Europe Global Ministries of
the United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

700 Prospect Ave., #718, Cleveland, Ohio 44115 USA

With warm greetings, and thank you for your kind consideration.
Samia Khoury


Samia’s book, Reflections from Palestine, is available from Rimal Books,


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