A Haven for Palestinian Children
Ever since it was established, Rawdat El-Zuhur gave special attention to music. The first piece of equipment that the founder, the late Elizabeth Nasir bought in 195 2 was a manual record player. She focused on music appreciation and dancing to help the girls overcome the misery of their destitution. As the organization developed its program to formal education there has always been someone to teach singing to the children. Very often they were volunteers.
The children love singing and love performing to school guests in Arabic, English and French, and on special occasions like Mothers’ Day and the Music has the power to lift the spirits.graduation of the sixth grade. During the last few years and in cooperation with the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music, talented children have been training in string instruments, and oriental instruments. In April 1999 the ANERA Middle East Leadership Team presented the school with six violins and a cello. The School has two pianos, one in the kindergarten section, and the other in the all-purpose hall.
The first, a Yamaha, was donated by the Norwegian Refugee Council in the early seventies, and the second, a Kawai, was donated by the Japanese International Volunteer Center in 1999. We continue to hope that one day the school will have its own musical ensemble. In the meantime master Simon keeps the children happy as they sing and hop around.
The Qanoun, an oriental instrument.
For two years, 1997-1999 Rawdat El-Zuhur was privileged to have the volunteer art teacher Lori Hayes from the USA work with the children. She loved the children, and they loved her and her art lessons as well. There was a new focus on art as a result of the experience with Lori. Palestinian artist and teacher Taleb Dweik continued to teach on part time basis with Lori for the rest of her term.
Lori left a very meaningful art legacy, “Bright Wings” a book of the children’s art with photos and text by Lori herself.(see link) It was sponsored by the Global Ministries: a common witness of the Division of Overseas Ministries, Lori Hayes and Salwa ZananiriChristian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the Wider Church Ministries, United Church of Christ, 800-537-3394 who were sponsoring the volunteer work of Lori. As of the fall of 2000 Mrs. Aya Jawharieh, a retired art teacher has been working at the school as a full time art teacher. She has been combining art, with music and drama in a remarkable manner, and is preparing a special program for the 50th anniversary in April 2002.