Voice lost un­less fund­ing found

The Jewish Chronicle - - Community - BY JEN­NIFER LIP­MAN

A PRO­GRAMME tak­ing Is­raeli and Pales­tinian speak­ers to Bri­tish schools is un­der threat of clo­sure through lack of funds.

Close on 600 pupils at state schools in Lon­don, Manch­ester and Birm­ing­ham have par­tic­i­pated in the One Voice sem­i­nars since the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s re­cent ex­pan­sion to in­clude ac­tiv­i­ties in­volv­ing the un­der-18s.

The Is­raeli-based char­ity trains thou­sands of Is­raeli and Pales­tinian youth lead­ers to pro­mote prac­ti­cal so­lu­tions to the con­flict in the re­gion.

Its UK arm or­gan­ises video chats with the youth lead­ers, as well as bring­ing over rep­re­sen­ta­tives to meet and an­swer ques­tions from school groups.

A grant from the Rayne Foun­da­tion en­abled the ex­pan­sion into schools, but the pro­gramme will end in De­cem­ber un­less £20,000 is raised.

Pro­gramme di­rec­tor Sharon Al­soodani said it gave teenagers from po­larised com­mu­ni­ties the chance to learn to­gether about Mid­dle East is­sues.

“If com­mu­ni­ties in the UK have an Is­raeli or Pales­tinian telling them some­thing, it car­ries an au­thor­ity. The hu­man el­e­ment makes it very real for par­tic­i­pants. They can ask what­ever they want to peo­ple who are of a re­lat­able age.

“We’ve had so much suc­cess and teach­ers have even ap­proached us ask­ing us to come in,” she added.

“It’s had a re­ally good re­ac­tion — we don’t want to lose that.”

One Voice’s Sharon Al­soodani and Is­raeli and Pales­tinian vis­i­tors tak­ing their mes­sage into school

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