In many parts of the world, where apart from food, water, medicine or homes, rights are also scarce, including education. This is not only limited to the right to go to school or pursue university studying and the formation of each individual’s professional potential, gaining the opportunity to live a better life, but also the opportunity to receive a secular education where there is lifestyle individuality, where each person is able to make their own decisions, and where neither government nor society control civil life. A clear example is Palestine, located in the Middle East.
In Palestine, there is a team member from Education for Life. Our colleague Ruth works as a volunteer teacher at An-Najah National University located in the city of Nablus, in the northern West Bank. She is teaching the Spanish language to Palestinian university students of varying academic background (from linguists to engineers); in which all students have access and the chance to learn Spanish. But apart from that, her and her colleagues share with students other customs or ways of life that exist in other parts of the globe. They transmit other perspectives from different cultures, and they inform them of places where perhaps there are more job opportunities than they can find at their country.
Ruth Marjalizo with a children from Palestine
“My work ideology is based on mutual respect, respect for others and respect for the doctrines. We are not putting our ideas before those of them neither trying to convince anyone of the opposite of what they think or feel, just we want to share our knowledge and releasing of the wide range of possibilities that exist outside of the land of each population, where their eyes do not reach to see and their ears do not reach to hear. We opted for a secular education, where every person is free to think whatever they want and to choose what they see fit for their future. Far from attempt against religion, secularism in public education provides a framework of coexistence and respect between different religious and belief systems, without imposing any binding way. “
Palestine is a territory quite complicated in terms of where education is concerned. As in many other countries, religion is the most important pillar of society, which controls education and culture. Although this does not mean that the education system is religious, everything is governed and controlled by religion.
This where religion and culture are mixed into a single weapon, creating a society that disenfranchises many people and putting obstacles onto others. This is a great challenge, considering that teaching in a society governed entirely by religion is a very difficult job. It is a very religious country and what makes this unique is how Palestinians are still quite skeptical about the future that awaits them.
Another important role that Education for Life has in Palestine is the help and cooperation in voluntary actions, such as the olive harvest (which takes place now until the end of November). We also want to contact refugee camps both locally and throughout the West Bank, to examine their daily lives, the possibilities that they have and they do not, etc. We want to show the world what they do not know, neither see.
Our goal is to return to Palestine as the country that was before the occupation and war, a country with a more open-minded and more opportunities for growth, which it now has. Where people have the opportunity and the right to a quality education and teachers are merely the means to knowledge and not the only real source of information and wisdom, where youth learn by them-selves in seeking and investigating knowledge. Not a passive society that receives information, and only regurgitate it. They are the future and it is to them that we want to outreach.