Queen launches Madrasati Palestine

April 19, 2010

(Office of Her Majesty- Press department- Amman) Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah launched, today, Madrasati Palestine, to combat the deteriorating state of education in East Jerusalem by renovating its disadvantaged schools, under the auspices of the Jordanian Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs.

In an address during the launch, attended by President of the Upper House, Taher Masri, Prime Minister, Samir Rifai, Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority, Salam Fayyad, Deputy Prime Minister, Rajai Muasher, Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, Minister of Education, Dr. Ibrahim Badran, Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, Abdul Salam Abbadi, Palestinian Minister of Education, Lamis Al Alami, Head of Waqf Council, Al Shiekh Abdel Azeem Salhab, a number of officials, as well as media personalities, Queen Rania outlined the educational challenges in Jerusalem.

Despite the fact that education is a highly valued asset in the Palestinian territories, its quality has been declining, drop-out rates are increasing, and there has been an alarming increase in the number of out-of-school children. For example, school drop-out rates in East Jerusalem are higher than other parts of the city, and many children do not attend school. More than 50% of Palestinian boys who start school never finish.

Her Majesty also spoke about the current situation, "Today, Jerusalem occupies the news headlines and tops the agendas of summits just as it always has… It will become more Israeli every day if we don’t support its Palestinian identity starting today.”

“Helping young people in Jerusalem, Her Majesty said, “was a matter of urgency.” “Political solutions and negotiations take time that the children of Jerusalem just can’t afford. While the war of negotiations takes place on political round tables, the round stone mills of occupation slowly crush the identity of Jerusalemites.”

As an active advocate for children's rights, Queen Rania pointed out that efforts to tackle the crisis in Jerusalem need to be scaled up, “Because Jerusalem is every Arab’s responsibility. And for every person who wants to do more than pray, ensuring quality education for Jerusalem’s children is your way to help.”

In discussing the reasons behind launching the initiative, Her Majesty noted that, “We launch Madrasati Palestine from Jordan today because Jordan has an historical role in preserving Jerusalem’s Arab identity and protecting its holy shrines."

At the end of her address, Queen Rania said, “For the sake of keeping the Palestinian and Arab identity of Jerusalem, and for the sake of Jerusalem’s children, its future, and our hope, we will work without rest from this day forward.”

A short film, narrated by Her Majesty, which shed light on the humanitarian and educational crisis in which the people of Jerusalem are caught, was also shown during the launch.

Also speaking at the event, Salam Fayyad, Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority, expressed his gratitude for launching Madrasati Palestine. He also said that this initiative aims to improve the state of education in Jerusalem, which, as showcased in the film earlier, has been deteriorating due to the Israeli occupation and illegal expansion of settlements.

Salam Fayyad, also noted that Madrasati Palestine comes 2 years after launching Madrasati Jordan and, successfully, renovating hundreds of schools in the Kingdom.

In his address, Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, Abdul Salam Abbadi, talked about the importance of launching Madrasati Palestine to improve the education sector in Jerusalem, which plays a dynamic role in protecting the Arabic and Islamic identity, and empowering Palestinian generations.

Abdul Salam Abbadi also explained that this initiative will renovate schools under the auspices of the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in Jordan, through the Islamic Waqf Directorate in Jerusalem.

A number of teachers from schools in Jerusalem to be included under the Madrasati Palestine initiative also attended the launch. They are in Jordan to get a firsthand look at the renovated schools under Madrasati Jordan.

Donations can be made through the Madrasati Regional bank account:

Arab Bank
0118/276664

For more information, please go to: www.madrasati.org

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