Friends of Deir Ibzi'a

San Francisco Bay Area/Deir Ibzi'a, West Bank
Providing scholarships for students and income for women living under occupation in Palestine

The Friends of Deir Ibzi'a are activists who traveled to Palestine with the International Solidarity Movement in the summer of 2002. They found themselves participating in a children's summer camp that was organized during the Israeli invasion of the West Bank and a 4-month-long siege of the village. The organizer, Deeb Kamal, had been concerned that the children in his village of Deir Ibzi'a were traumatized and depressed. He asked for international accompaniment to lessen the chances that the Israeli military would interfere. The camp turned out to be a wonderful, chaotic, joyful and educational experience for children and adults alike.

The Scholarship Project

The activists returned to the San Francisco Bay Area energized to work for the future and freedom of Palestine. Inspired by the camp's commitment to education, they dedicated themselves to raising money for scholarships for the students in Deir Ibzi'a. They agreed with Deeb that the future of Palestine depends on the children being happy and well adjusted, and especially getting a good education. Read more about the Friends of Deir Ibzi'a Scholarship Fund.

The Computer Center

An additional project has been to raise funds dedicated to the creation of a computer center in the village of Deir Ibzi’a. The center focuses on classes for youth and women, bringing computer education and Internet access to the village. The greater plan is to eventually purchase land and build a computer center capable of serving not only Deir Ibzi’a but many of the small, surrounding villages as well.

The Embroidery Project

Palestinian women in the village of Deir Ibz'ia

The economic devastation of the Palestinian economy is a well known and ongoing problem and was a motivation for the Friends of Deir Ibzi'a to start a partnership with the women in the village. We buy their embroidery at a fair trade price which generates income for them and at the same time helps to fund the scholarship program. An additional benefit is that their amazingly beautiful embroidered purses, pillow covers, and wall hangings are made available here, each with an attractive tag providing information about the women who have created the items.

Our Commitment to Education

Unfaltering in our commitment to education and the belief that a hopeful future demands it, some of us have been giving presentations about the situation in Palestine to groups in various venues, including workplaces, schools, libraries, and churches. These presentations have been extremely well received and many people have commented that they better understand what they read in the news after having heard us speak. If you know of an appropriate venue — a classroom, a church, or any community group — please contact Wendy to set up a presentation.

You Can Donate!

We continue to unwaveringly hold to the vision that the future of Palestine rests with the young generation and our ability to ensure that they receive a good education. We hope that you will embrace this vision and help bring it to fruition by donating to the Friends of Deir Ibzi'a. Please give online or mail a check to the Middle East Children's Alliance with "FoDI" in the memo. Thank you from the Friends of Deir Ibzi’a and the Middle East Children's Alliance!