In March 2017, the doors of the “International School of Peace” (ISOP) for refugees on the island of Lesbos in Greece were opened by two educational organizations from Israel: A Jewish organization - Hashomer Hatzair Life Movement, and an Arab-Israeli organization - Ajial.
There are currently 12,000 refugees on the island of Lesbos – 3,400 of them are children and youth, and 250 of those are attending the ISOP weekly. The island is the first stop for the refugees in Europe. Most of them remain there for many months, with great uncertainty and with no educational framework whatsoever.
The wars in the Middle East shaped our student's lives. Many had never gone to school because they were too young to do so when they fled their homes with their families. Many others lost family members in bombings or along the way to seek refuge. They have other family members who their whereabouts are unknown.
For these children to fulfill their full potential - basic education and adult support are crucial. The lack of supportive educational frameworks in refugee camps throughout Europe and the Middle East leaves them and many other children without basic human rights – among them the right to acquire a proper education.
Our school on the island succeeded beyond any imagination; at first, we planned to be there for only a few months, and then we realized that we could not let this safe educational space close and that we must continue. The ISOP has a direct and unprecedented impact on the lives of hundreds of students and families.
Our motto is “Working WITH the people and not FOR the people”. All the teachers at ISOP are refugees themselves. The lessons are taught in the children’s mother tongue. This approach made our school more than just a school – ISOP is a community development project where hundreds of people a day have the platform to share their talents and join hands in creation.
The unique model we have developed has been highly commended by the authorities and agencies on Lesbos, as well as by many factors in Israel and abroad. Our success is the result of the cooperation of Israeli Jews and Arabs, who together Demonstrate good neighborly relations and cooperation that comes from a place where conflicts are a daily reality.
ISOP has become the largest educational program on the island. Our low-cost/high-impact model based on local empowerment and Israeli volunteers, with a small professional coordinating team, allows us to sustain a full weekly curriculum for hundreds of children a week.
We hope you consider being our partners in this important project and increase the light in the world. Join us on our journey to build the future generation of leaders of the world.
For more information please look at our Website
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