The Open House in Ramle - a peace education center in Ramle, Israel
 

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Day for Prayer and Action for Children (DPAC)


by Bissan Salman


Since 1989, on every November 20th the world raises the awareness for children’s rights.

On October 21st we held a meeting with the DPAC colleagues in Neve-Shalom. We built a program for DPAC 2012, which contained two main events; the first one intended for an Arab school and the second one for a Jewish school.

Unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned. The recent crisis in Gaza forced us to modify the program. Open House, together with the spiritual center in Neve Shalom held the event on November 18th at the “Alamaria” school in Ramle. The participants were 12 year olds.

Although the political situation was rough and there was tension felt, the program was well delivered and received.


Starting from left: Yael Ben-Shabat, Mohammad Najjar, Nadine Shbeta and Bissan Salman at “Alamaria” school.

We started our activity by presenting ourselves. We explained about Open House, the spiritual center in Neve-Shalom GNRC, DPAC and the connection between them. We then asked the kids to brainstorm to the word “Rights”:


I have the right to have: good treatment, clothes, compassion and care, shelter, to be well treated, friendship, education, freedom etc.

Bissan Salman and Mohammad Najjar at the Brainstorming activity.

For the next activity we divided the group into 4-5 little groups. Each group received a picture that contains a specific situation with a “lake of right”. Each group had a discussion about the picture they received.

For instance, one of the groups got a picture of characters that don’t have appropriate conditions for living. The group then discussed the situation and wrote a number of rights that the characters in the pictures didn’t get: the right to play and to have fun, the right to drink clean water, the right to have freedom, the right to live in peace and safety, the right to live in a clean area, the right to have food, etc.

Another group got a picture of a character that isn’t receiving appropriate treatment or access to health services. On the top of the paper the group wrote: “I have the right to have rights”. After their discussion they wrote a number of rights which belong to this picture: the right to receive appropriate treatment, the right to receive an appropriate place for treatment, the right to have clean and warm clothes etc.


Each group presented its work in front of the class and we had an ongoing discussion together about each picture and the rights that go with it.

We then raised the hot topic about rights during these war times. One of the kids said that they don’t have a shelter in their building and if they will hear the sirens that warn of incoming missiles they won’t know what to do.

At the end of the activity we gave the children a nice sticker with the symbol of DPAC.

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Let me end this short summary with an inspiring phrase from a book that I like:

“There is no prescription for practicing random kindness. It comes from the heart. Your gift might be to pick up litter in your neighborhood, make an anonymous contribution to charity, send some cash in an unmarked envelope to someone under financial stress, save a disserted animal by taking it to a rescue agency, or volunteer by feeding hungry people at a church or shelter. You may want to do all these things, and more. The point is, giving is fun and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Perhaps the greatest reason to practice random kindness is that it brings great contentment into your life. Each act of kindness rewards you with positive feelings and reminds you of the important aspects of life- service, kindness, and love. If we all do our own part, pretty soon we will live in a nicer world.”
Richard Carlson, PH.D.

May you draw your life with the colors of optimism and joy,

Bissan Salman