Empowering Palestinian Villages, One Library at a Time
Year End 2019
An Appeal from Seraj Library Project
Empowering Communities in Palestine,
One Library at a Time
Meet Seraj volunteer, Amany Raed, from the Kufor Ni'ameh Library
Our Seraj Scholarship Program is Changing Lives.
Read the remarkable letter one of our volunteers wrote to Seraj donors!
My name is Amany Raed and I am writing this letter to thank the family of Seraj for their huge role in my life. Thank you to every person who supported and continues to support Seraj.
I study banking and finance at Al-Quds Open University in Ramallah. Seraj has been the biggest support to my education. I am now in my last year, and to be honest, I would not have been able to study in university at all if it had not been for the support of Seraj. I hope to work in my field of study when I graduate, but the library in my village (Kufor Ni’ameh) has become my second home, so I will continue to volunteer there.
I have so many beautiful memories of the four years of my time volunteering with Seraj. We had the chance to visit Seraj libraries in other communities and make friends with the volunteers there as well. Seraj introduced me to new poetry which encouraged me to read more and even write my own.
But my favorite memory was when a young boy from my village, Mohammad, told me, “when I grow up I will come to the library with my friends to look at what we drew when we were young and also to read and to volunteer like you.” It made me feel so proud and happy of our work. The Seraj library in my village is a shelter for children and helps the youth to see the world from the pages of a book.
To conclude, I repeat how thankful I am. It’s been four years since I started volunteering and I’m now a part of the Seraj family. I thank everyone in my Seraj family and I also thank the people who contributed to the scholarships, even though I haven’t personally met them but I must thank them very much. Thank you all very much. Amany
An Appeal at Year's End from Seraj Library Project
Another wonderful year for Seraj!
Friends, you know we're approaching the end of the year when you find yourself ankle deep in catalogs and letters from wonderful causes asking for money. For us at Seraj, this time of year is a chance to reflect on the wonderful year we have had, thanks in large part to you, our community of supporters. We recently completed our 9th and 10th libraries – one in Abu Falah and one in Tubas. We were able to award 15 BJ Wagner fellowships this fall, which brings the total to 57 students served since this program began. And the combined libraries have offered up an amazing schedule of programs centered around storytelling and bring communities together.
We are grateful, too, for the wonderful annual benefit dinner in October. Because of your generosity with your time and money, we had a wonderful turnout, and heard Palestinian stories from Fida'a Ataya, our master storyteller. We have come so far. And we want to thank you most sincerely for your continued support.
Now, at year's end, if your philanthropic sock still has some money in it, please consider supporting one of these three efforts:
Each BJ Wagner Fellowship helps to defray much of the cost of college tuition for our young volunteers, most of whom are young women and who make excellent use of the opportunity. Full fellowships are $1,000.
Estephan & Laurie are moving forward with a plan to create a Palestinian National Storytelling Center, to preserve the cultural identity and heritage of Palestine. This effort could not come at a better time.
Books. Estephan noted that Seraj has put 45,000 books in place over the past 10 years. But many of those older books are becoming frayed, and many of the libraries could use new additions to their collections. Laurie figures that we need about $5,000 to restock a library.
We invite you to participate in these efforts. Donate here. Note your choice of Fund when you donate. Or mail your check to "Seraj Library Project," 636 N Harvey, Oak Park, IL 60302
As a reminder, we should mention that:
If you are 70 1/2, or older, you can give money directly from your IRA without paying taxes.
If you are a member of Thrivent, you can now direct your charitable money to Seraj. We are on their approved list.
If your employer offers matching gifts, you can direct those to Seraj.
And don't forget Amazon Smile.
On the other hand, if your charitable efforts are complete, please help by sending us new people for our contact list. Seraj will welcome the opportunity to bring them into our circle of friends and supporters. Simply add their names to our email sign up on our website. Or, send names and email addresses for us to contact.
Of course, we will gladly accept both new names and a financial gift. Who among your friends would like to know more about Seraj?
You are appreciated by us and by the families that we serve in Palestine. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Galen Burghardt, Development Chair, Seraj USA
Let us know your questions or concerns, or how we can help you. Contact Us.
Invite Seraj to make a presentation at your church, club, association...or, to a group of neighbors or friends in your home. We can talk about our libraries and programs, and share stories from the Occupation. We hope you will enjoy sharing our work with your friends.