As the first families’ children began to grow they established their own pre-school. This naturally led on to the creation of the Primary School and the development of the concept for a unique, bilingual, bicultural curriculum, which has since been a model for other schools.
Father Bruno and other residents very quickly established the School for Peace, even before there was a building for it. The programmes still bring together Palestinian Arab and Jewish Israeli young people for joint activities to get to know one another, and through dialogue to explore issues that both groups experience as Israeli citizens.
Bruno wanted the Village to have a place where people could explore their spirituality, but did not want there to be individual places of worship – Synagogue, Church or Mosque. Instead, the Doumia / Sakinah / House of Silence was created as a place for meditation, prayer and reflection. Since his death, the Pluralistic Spiritual Centre has been built in his memory. Its activities draw inspiration from the resources and spiritual traditions of the Middle East and the world at large. Today it is one of the most important interfaith centres in Israel. Followers of faith come together to share religious teachings and commentaries, and to celebrate their festivals. It also does outreach work within Israel to create better understanding between communities.
The Primary School & pre-school have bilingual, bicultural education and therefore need a higher teacher/pupil ratio than in most other schools. We assist by contributing to Teachers’ salaries. We have a particular interest in the role of the homeroom teacher who has an important pastoral role in the care of the children.
Some examples of how our donors have contributed to educational resources are: books for the library in Hebrew and Arabic; science and playground equipment; IT and computers; synthetic lawn and shade canopy for a large sport/recreation area; children’s summer camps; teachers’ language courses
The outreach work of the School for Peace (SfP) is particularly relevant to young people who will be tomorrow’s parents. The Youth Encounter Programme was the SfP’s first venture. This has been developed as a residential workshop at NSWaS for up to 60 high school students, 30 from a Jewish school and 30 from a Palestinian Arab school, both inside Israel. These have run successfully for over 30 years, and have become one of the major projects we support
Youth Leadership courses now take the form of research projects focusing on local and wider human rights issues in the context of citizenship.
Other projects we support through grants awarded to us include facilitator training, where staff are trained for SfP encounter work as well as for advocacy in civil and human rights organisations in Israel. Our benefactors have also supported courses at Haifa University.