First Newsletter July 2011

Bahaa in Washington

This is our first Newsletter which I hope you will enjoy reading. The committee felt that we should keep our supporters in touch during the year rather than just at our annual event in the Autumn. Please let us know if you find this helpful as we are unsure at present how many to do each year. Initially perhaps twice a year? The Newsletter includes developments of a closer relationship with Norfolk YMCA, an update on Bahaa’s progress at his University in London as well as our plans to support more students in the Holy Land. We are also wishing to co-opt onto our committee a person who can lead our fundraising. Of course the more funds we can secure then the more young students we can support.

Bahaa is a wonderful example of how our focused support has the potential to make a significant difference to lives in the Middle East. Even though we no longer offer Bahaa ongoing financial support we have paid to him an award of £500 in recognition of his excellent achievements and he remains one of our greatest ambassadors. (an extract from a recent email from Bahaa) It has been such a long time we haven’t been in touch. I am so sorry for not replying your last email as I was really busy with exams and I had to prepare for 5 exams in a very short time. All my time since Easter break was at the library till I finished my exams this week. I am back to life now! I miss talking to you and I have lots to tell you about my first year in London; it’s been a great one but very challenging and demanding. I have also great plans for this summer; I have a surprise for you! I got accepted for an internship to volunteer at the American Congress in DC. this summer for 2 months! I am going to work with congressmen and I am also going to cover congressional session on the Middle East as a young Palestinian journalist. I am going to be very close to the decision-making process at Capitol Hill, which is going to be a great experience for me. I am sure this is great news for you as well. I would like also to hear how it has been going with students at Bethlehem University when we meet. I am looking forward to hear about them and about the project and to see how I can help. It would be great if I can get their email addresses or phones numbers so I can see them when I am home.

I know that Bahaa will be using most of his £500 towards a suit and shirts as he is expected to speak to a group of Congressmen about his ‘young persons’ perspective of the Middle East.

Quite some progress so let’s make sure we have even more students to support. Your financial support will enable this to happen and thank you so much for support in the past. Highlights of 2011 Sponsoring two students from Bethlehem University who without our financial support would have to leave university. They are Maysa Shomali from Beit Sahour near Bethlehem, who is in her 3rd year, studying Education. Jane Matar from Beit- Jala in Bethlehem, who is in her 3rd year studying Business Administration. John Drake working hard to secure two new students for sponsorship from the Dheisheh Camp. Currently the pupils are at the UN high school in the camp and wish to attend one of the universities in Bethlehem from September 2011. The sponsorship will be for up to £1000 per year for up to four years per student. The selection criteria ensures that these students would otherwise have been unable to continue with their studies from lack of funds. Bahaa is currently at home in Dheisheh for a few days and is reporting to us on the credentials of the applicants. The Committee has recently agreed a written Constitution for the John Aves Project with YMCA Norfolk with whom we have finalised a long-term working relationship. Our connection with the YMCA is important in many ways. It will help us in our work in the Middle East and provides an internationally known organizational back-up. It also absolves us from forming a separate Charity and YMCA Norfolk can now claim to have an initiative in the Middle East. We shall abide by the policies and procedures of the YMCA and the relationship assists in our intention that administration costs are at an absolute minimum. We shall be co-opting at least one Trustee of the YMCA onto our committee. We are working on a website where we hope to update supporters regularly and encourage new support. More on all these issues in the next newsletter.

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