About over 200 pupils at Douglas Primary School in Wynberg gathered in the quad area just across the street of the humble school to hand over money raised for children in Gaza on Thursday. The atmosphere was still and sombre as the students sat on the concrete floor, listening to speeches by school staff and members of ulema as they told of the atrocities in Gaza.
Students and the school body managed to raise just over R17 000 towards the education and water for the children living in the Gaza Strip. According to Fouzia Ismail, the teacher who started the initiative, the pupils’ response to this project was overwhelming.
“Within four days, we were able to raise this amount of money. For children who also come from humble homes, this is an enormous achievement,” Ismail said.
Accepting the money was former president of the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC), Sheikh Ebrahim Gabriels, who is a frequent traveller to Palestine. Gabriels told the pupils of his experiences on his travels to the Occupied Palestinian territories. He spoke of the beautiful children who live in fear each and every day yet are firm believers in still getting an education regardless of Israeli occupation.
“I promise today that I will try to personally hand over the money to the children of Gaza to ensure that this contribution will make its way to them,” Gabriels pledged.
Currently, Gazans do not have access to clean water and often are unable to attend any schooling due to the constant shelling by the Israeli military. Schools, hospitals and even refugee camps have fallen victim to Israeli bombs.
At the ceremony, pupils chanted “Allahu Akbar” as teachers and shuyookh called for the Takbeer. Students from between the ages of 5-14 donned the national Palestinian colours and held up personally coloured flags to show their support. Ismail said this project took flight within one week and pupils along with their families showed their support until the very end.
Meanwhile, some of the pupils said they hope the money which they have contributed will help the children of Gaza be free.
A grade 7 pupil, Edries Londt said that since he heard of the killings in Palestine, he made an oath to try and do anything to help Palestinians.
“This might be a small act but it will be helping in a big way. I encourage other young people to also contribute whether in money or kind to Palestine,” Londt said.
His classmate, Tasneem Osman said she is very proud of the achievements of her school but this one in particular has a special place in her heart.
“My teachers always keep us updated on what is happening in Palestine. We pray that the children living in Gaza can enjoy school and freedom as we can here in South Africa,” Osman added.
Schools all over the country are slowly becoming more active toward the plight of Palestinians. Early Thursday morning, students from Groote Schuur high school demonstrated with Palestinian flags alongside a busy intersection in Claremont and Rondebosch, bringing traffic to a standstill. Later the afternoon, school learners in the city bowl also picketed outside Parliament. They waved Palestinian flags and showed off hand drawn posters in support of Gaza’s children. The cause has reached deep within the hearts of many South Africans.
Ismail explained that this project is just one of the many others the school will be doing and further expressed her gratitude to all who has contributed to this worthy cause. VOC (Ra’eesah Isaacs)