Empowering Communities in Palestine, One Library at a Time
Overseeing renovations in preparation for the Tubas Library
Update: Our Two New Libraries, Numbers 9 & 10.
Our first library (Jifna) was in 2008. 10 years later, we've got 10. Here is an update on our two most recent (still in progress) projects.
News from our Seraj Palestine:
We are gearing up to launch two new libraries in our network this fall bringing the total number to 10 libraries. Work on these two locations, Tubas and Abu Falah, has been progressing steadily throughout the summer. Because of the excitement surrounding the new libraries, the communities began work before the enabling funds were even transferred from the US! The news of the new libraries has spread through the communities.
On the way to check in at Abu Falah, several women in the shared taxi were expressing their excitement over the new space, saying how very much they are looking forward to having a place to take their children to hear stories and read. And another woman visited the work in progress and said she is a retired secretary from the school and would be thrilled to be able to volunteer her time to open the library all day during the week!
Our new location in Tubas has been visited by many college students, anxiously awaiting opening day. There are several thousand university students in this small town and they are currently without a library or community space to meet and to study. Our modest, but beautiful, safe and well-stocked libraries have real potential to improve the lives of all those in the community.
Laurie Salameh, Director, Seraj Palestine
(see a map of all the library locations on our website)
Preparing a brightly painted space at Abu Falah
(the library space is not in the Municipal Building, pictured)
As we come to the milestone of 10 libraries, we asked our friend Mary Ann Weston, formerly a Northwestern professor from Evanston to put on her journalism hat to chronicle the heart of Seraj's story.
by Mary Ann Weston, Seraj Volunteer.
The inspiration for the Seraj Library Project came from Estephan and Laurie Salameh’s shared love of books and their commitment to bringing knowledge and engagement with the world to isolated villages and refugee camps of Palestine.
It all started when Estephan, who was born in Jerusalem, was working on a graduate degree at North Park University in Chicago, a school founded by the Evangelical Covenant Church. He came to North Park from Palestine on a scholarship with half a month’s rent in his pocket. To augment his funds, he taught Arabic to North Park students and the greater Chicago community. Among his students was Laurie Millner who was studying for a master’s degree in nonprofit management. They married in 2004.
Estephan and Laurie pondered how they could improve the situation in Palestine, where some 4 million Palestinians live severely constrained lives under Israeli occupation. Their conversation kept coming back to libraries for children.
Libraries seemed a perfect fit in Palestine, where the culture is very family-oriented and puts a high value on education... read the full article here.
We hope you are planning to attend our
2018 Seraj Benefit Event.
Sunday afternoon, October 14, at Chateau Ritz in Niles, IL
Presentations by Estephan Salameh, Seraj co-founder from Jerusalem, and Yazan Meqbil, a remarkable Palestinian college senior in Indiana.
Dinner * Silent Auction * Raffle * Live Auctiom
Watch your mail in early September for our invitation!