Through our 2022-23 democratic budget CoPower customer members voted to support a project to install solar and batteries to power a frontline Palestinian school. $3,500 was sent to Friends of Hebron Sydney in partnership with the Palestine Fair Trade Australia who coordinated the project. 1-year on it is inspiring to share the impact which this project has had.
This grant from CoPower made it possible to install sustainable electrical power via solar panels to a newly built school in an isolated rural Palestinian village in the South Hebron hills area of the West Bank. Construction of the school was completed in December 2022, funded by international donors from the UK and Italy. The financial contribution from CoPower enabled the installation of solar panels and batteries, meaning the school did not have to rely on diesel generators for power. Besides the importance of providing a sustainable energy source, the effects of this grant are even more far-reaching for this small Palestinian community. Having a school in the village means that families can stay on their traditional lands and homes, rather than relocate to the urban centers seeking education facilities for their children, which often results in further disadvantage and displacement. This project has helped to make a vulnerable Palestinian community more secure.
Since its inauguration in January 2023, the school has 18 children enrolled and attending classes in Years 1-4, with a classroom and a teacher for each class. The success of this small school has encouraged the community, with more families indicating their intention to return to the village for the school year beginning in September 2023. The school has since applied for more classrooms to be built and additional teachers to be appointed to cater for the additional children expected. By bringing families back to the village and providing a community hub as well as education for the children, the community has grown stronger and its lands have become less vulnerable to takeover by illegal Israeli settlers. It has been a successful project on many levels.