“I will carry it with me for a lifetime. It will remind me that it only takes a little to help a lot.”
Students from the Jerusalem School take fighting hunger into their own hands. Read their story and be inspired.
In occupied East Jerusalem, a group of bright-eyed Palestinian students meet to talk about world issues in a student-favourite, Peace Class. At the Jerusalem School, peace is a key part of educating over 600 students. Stitched onto their school uniforms is the school motto: “Peace Begins with Me.” Seventeen students, ages 15-17, gather once a week to analyze the roots of violence while finding ways for a culture of peace during class time.
This spring, the students talked about hunger
for a day. They were astonished that almost 1 billion people go to bed hungry every night. After school they searched the WFP website for more information. There they discovered the Fill the Cup
After some discussion, they decided to educate others about world hunger. “The students loved the idea and quickly decided to raise funds to combat hunger using the Red Cup as the symbol,” said Mrs. Marta Jamileh Berardi, who is the project manager for the Center for Proactive Peacemaking International (CPPI).
CPPI is an NGO founded in 2010 by the Jerusalem School. It targets youth and empowers them to act and do things for peace concretely. The Peace Class is part the CPPI program.
Students made red cups out of colored paper as a medium for spreading the word about hunger. Presenting their crafty red cups to other classes, they asked students ‘to be a superhero in the fight against hunger’ and fill the red cup with a few Shekels.
“They calculated that it only takes 1 Shekel (25 US Cents) to fill a Red Cup,” said Marta. Contributions flowed in from students, teachers and parents. Within a few days, they raised over 6,000 NIS (USD 1,700) to help WFP fight poverty and hunger.
Marta rang WFP’s Country Office in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) to tell them about her students' success. As a reward, WFP organized a visit for them to a poor school in a remote area near Jericho. Roughly 70 students, mainly from Bedouin families, attend the school and receive fortified date bars and locally procured milk from WFP. During the visit, the Jerusalem School students gave the date bars and milk to the children.
They were astonished at the stark contrast between the two schools. The Bedouin school is housed in shipping containers without adequate electricity, running water or proper ventilation in one of the hottest places in the region. Afterward handing out the snacks and talking with the kids, the boys enjoyed a friendly football match.
The students were also rewarded with their own official WFP Red Cups. As Ghada, one of the students, said, “I will carry it with me for a lifetime. It will remind me that it only takes a little to help a lot.”
In oPt, WFP’s School Feeding Programme supports 75,000 children in the West Bank. The School Feeding Programme in Gaza, supporting 92,000 children, is currently suspended due to a lack of funding.
Story and photos by Sarah Leppert (19 May 2011)