Colourful paper t-shirts hang against the blackboard. There are also toys and children’s own art made from recycled material in the classroom. The children are playing, singing and laughing, just like children do. Nearly every day, however, these children witness threatening situations in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel.
Finland has been supporting the education of Palestinian children from 1996. Education reinforces peace, equality and democracy in the region. Finland’s support has been used to build schools, train teachers, improve school administration and organise versatile activities for school children. The results have been good: girls and boys have equal opportunities to attend school. Nearly all adults can read and write. In the field of education, Palestinian authorities are sought after experts in many Arab countries, and there is an ongoing reform of the Palestinian curricula. School should be a safe place for children, but this is not always the case in the Palestinian territories. That is why Finland is supporting efforts to ensure that Palestinian children can grow up in a non-violent environment. Finland also supports the work of UNICEF to end violence against children. Early childhood education and care are also being developed in the region with Finland’s support.
Photo: Ramzi Nijem, graphics: Juho Hiilivirta