The International School of peace for refugee children in the Isle of Lesvos is a collaboration between the Hashomer Hatzair Life Movement and Ajyal movement.
We are educators and teachers, Jews and Arabs. We were all raised in Israeli youth movements where we learned that each and every one of us has a responsibility to the society we live in and the world we are part of.
Ajyal movement is an Israeli-Arab youth movement whose work is based on the belief in human equality. Ajyal movement sees education as a major tool for ensuring social mobility and a central way to promote and develop the Arab society in Israel. It is a sister movement of Hashomer Hatzair.
Hashomer Hatzair Life Movement is a network of young entrepreneurs, educators and social activists, residing in mission-oriented communities in the social- geographic periphery of Israel. Hashomer Hatzair Life Movement's main goal is to promote a shared society, equality, and democracy in Israel. We operate different frameworks in the fields of education and social activism and reach tens of thousands of participants.
The members of the movement live in educators’ Kibbutzim and strive to lead collaborative lifestyles.
The leading, shaping and dreaming of the school is happening with close partnership with leaders from the refugee communities. the same people, that despite the impossible reality they are facing, are choosing to believe that the world can be different than what it is today, believe that living in peace is possible and that cooperation between people from different cultures, nationalities and backgrounds is the only possibility for a different, better future. people who see themselves as the educators of the next generation that will lead the change
Our actions as Israeli citizens with refugees from Arab countries creates endless encounters and conversation with our students, teachers, parents and the school community. We had been told stories about each other since we were born but rarely, if ever, we met face to face - and the school presents the opportunity to do so under different circumstances. Israel is a symbol of the enemy in states like Iran, Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq. In Israel, the sentiment of the constant external threat creates alienation between people. But what happens when people actually meet? When Israeli eyes meet Syrian or Iranian eyes?
In 2017, as a result of the civil war in Syria we decided to go on a mission together, Jews and Arabs from Israel. To Act.
What started as a fundraising campaign designed to ensure three months of activity, became the one of the largest schools for refugees on the island of Lesvos. Over 5,000 students have passed through its gates in the past four years.
Back then, after months of challenging building, both physically and educationally, this adventure had gained a life of its own and took us on the adventure that many of us never anticipated.
Already in its early days, when the school
was only two small red containers that were converted into classrooms, the cross-cultural partnership began to take form. A partnership that was based on the belief that we must work with the people and not for the people. Even before the school had one teacher, and long before it had students, it was Yasin from Tunisia, Jaffar from Egypt, Abu-Samir and Mohammed from Syria, and Yasin from Morocco that created the physical foundations on which the school stands, as a symbol of solidarity between nations.
Since then, the schools had passed like a torch between thousands of souls that built, taught, and learned in it. The school belongs to all of those who choose, as refugees, while fleeing persecution and oppression, to be part of a place where human beings create different relationships between nations and cultures, and shape the world to be a better, more interconnected place.
Pain and frustration can quickly become hatred. The empty and infinite wait that is the daily routine of refugees, combined with the harsh reality of life in camps, creates the conditions for the growth of racism and violence. That was the reason we chose to build The International School of Peace.