Palestine youth meet with local pupils

2017-08-01 14:03
(From left) Director of Shamsaan, Nadia Meer, Muhammad Nawajah (13), Azwemah Thokna (14), Janna Jihad (11), Salsabil Khan (14), Ahed Tamini (16) and Husnaa Essop (12) stand with the Shamsaan story board banner with the stories of Palestinian children.

(From left) Director of Shamsaan, Nadia Meer, Muhammad Nawajah (13), Azwemah Thokna (14), Janna Jihad (11), Salsabil Khan (14), Ahed Tamini (16) and Husnaa Essop (12) stand with the Shamsaan story board banner with the stories of Palestinian children. (Nompilo Kunene)

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Young Palestinians on a tour in the city on Monday told the pupils of the Pietermaritzburg Nizamia Islamic School of how children from the Arabic country yearn for peace.

The Palestinians visited the school as part of their Shamsaan (Two Suns) presentation tour.

The tour aims to shed some light on the struggles between Israelis and Palestinians and how their young lives have been affected.

The young Palestinians, Janna Jihad (11), Ahed Tamini (16) and Muhammad Nawajah (13), had a dialogue with the Nizamia pupils and spoke to them about how they too wished they could “live in like the rest of the world in peace, love and equality”.

Janna, known throughout the world as Palestine’s youngest journalist, began reporting on the injustices that Palestinians were facing at the tender age of nine.

“I saw that there were not many journalists reporting on the matters faced by Palestinians and thought why could I not be a journalist as I had always aspired to be one.

“I used my mother’s phone to take a video of soldiers demolishing people’s homes and posted it online, the reaction I got back was more than I had expected,” she said.

Janna has managed to reach a sizeable audience of over 240 000 Facebook followers, documenting the oppression of Palestinian people.

She was earlier this year honoured by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with a “brave heart journalist” award during the International Benevolence Awards in Istanbul.

“I have received deadly threats because of the things I report on but we cannot allow fear to control us,” said Janna.

Ahed Tamini, who is known as the “Poster Girl” for her courage and defiance when faced with Israeli soldiers, was also among the visitors.

Thirteen-year-old Muhammad Nawajah is from the village of Susya Palestine.

Muhammad said their village had been demolished and many villagers have been displaced, leaving some of the locals staying in tents.

He said in his short time in South Africa he had learnt a lot about the history of the country.

“I learnt about Hector Pieterson and how he died fighting for education, we too back home have difficulties to get education.

“Nelson Mandela’s story also impressed. He managed to work with others to create a better country for everyone,” said the young lad.

The pupils at Nizamia Islamic School said the stories of the Palestinians made them feel like they were fortunate to be born in a country like South Africa.

“By listening to their stories growing up in a war-stricken country we get to actually see clearly what is really happening and how our peers are being refused their basic rights of education.

“I feel grateful for everything I had taken for granted before,” said Azwemah Thokna (14).

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  palestine

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