“Reconciling with ourselves, to build the world”: the wonderful adventure of the kids in Bethlehem
“We learn to reconcile ourselves with our problems, we learn to face them, but above all, we learn to grow starting from them and from other kinds of difficulties. And then we learn to exercise our critical judgment, in addressing the problems, not to address them instinctively”, says Ibrahim, who is 13 years old.
This morning he attended the peer mediation meeting in one of the classes of the Wi’am Center for non violence in Bethlehem. Every day there are many classes from different schools in the city that participate to social awareness lessons, held by experts of the center.
“It’s something really nice and very helpful for me,” he continues, “also when I’m not here, I often talk about it with my friends outside, because it helps everyone. We learn to be balanced, to treat others with respect, without discrimination of sex or race.”
The initiative has been taking place in Bethlehem for several years now, with the support of the Association pro Terra Sancta. The project aims to educate boys and girls of the city and surroundings, to tolerance and mutual respect, in order to “solve problems at their rooth”, the head of the center, explains. As a matter of fact, violence in Palestinian schools is growing: almost 50% of children have witnessed scenes of violence in the classroom, and 51% admitted to have used aggressive behavior towards their peers or teachers.
It is a great opportunity for these kids that see violence around them and experience the constant tension in the city.
“I learn to hold the prejudice that I can have on others, before you know them and this makes it easier to more interesting and more beautiful life,” says the little Emaya.
The other kids agree. All of them, like Emaya and Ibrahim, understand how important it is to know themselves and each other, to be “honest and critical”, to build rather than destroy.
Also because, as Emaya states dreaming the future: “what we learn here will help us so much when we will have to deal with our own kids, in short, with our own family.”