Al Eizariya, West Bank
Founded as a community youth center in 2008, House of Hope expanded by opening a trauma-informed kindergarten and elementary school in 2014. The holistic learning environment gently and effectively supports students to overcome trauma-induced educational barriers, which decreases the likelihood that they will respond to toxic stress with violence. House of Hope students learn healthy skills for coping with trauma through self-esteem affirming activities, such as art, music, and therapeutic body movement. Students also practice nonviolent communication, a healing approach to conflict resolution, and embrace cultural diversity and coexistence as a strategy for peacebuilding. During the summer, House of Hope’s art, music, and dance therapy programs are safe-havens for children who might otherwise be in the streets.
House of Hope advances peacebuilding through innovative approaches to the education, development, and resilience of young children in crisis zones so they are able to imagine and create a better future. The organization envisions a West Bank in which every child is nurtured to overcome trauma-induced learning obstacles.
In 2018, House of Hope reached its 10 year anniversary. Over 15,000 local children have participated in House of Hope’s art, music, and outdoor education activities, as well as its elementary school. Hundreds of women have received vocational training, as well as participated in trauma healing circles and yoga classes.
Boosted Investment in Palestinian Teachers: Education leaders from Germany and the Middle East conducted four multi-day workshops for House of Hope teachers about Waldorf and trauma-informed education. House of Hope's Educational Director received a full year reGeneration Education scholarship to pursue a Masters of Education degree in Waldorf Teaching.
Enrolled a Record Number of Summer Campers: House of Hope's 2019 summer art, music and dance camp, titled: "I Have a Dream," was a safe-haven for local children and one of the largest camps to date.
Continued Adoption of Holistic Teaching Methods: House of Hope is the only emerging Waldorf school in the West Bank. Thanks to international support, House of Hope continued implementing Waldorf teaching materials and methods and redesigning classrooms.
Increased International Teaching Volunteers: House of Hope enjoys not only deep local acceptance, but growing international support. Volunteers from Germany, Los Angeles, and the Middle East conducted week and multi-week long teacher and student trainings. In September, House of Hope welcomed a year long English teacher from Texas.
House of Hope proposes that if Palestinian schools holistically address toxic stress and promote the principles of nonviolence, then fewer Palestinian children will, as adolescents, suffer the emotional and medical side effects of chronic exposure to toxic stress or resort to acts of violence within their own communities or against Israelis.
Past volunteers have created social media accounts and posts, updated the website, translated educational materials from English to Arabic, written grant requests, and more.