Stories by the Children of Jerusalem Illustrated by the children of Gaza “My big Dream”

Wednesday 10 March 2021

IPBBY initiated a creative writing training for children in cooperation with Al Saraya Center for Community Services in Jerusalem. Many children were happy to write stories reflecting their reality. The stories were spontaneous and reflected their aspirations to have their voice reach the wider world.
The stories were sent to PBBY libraries in Gaza where the children interacted with the text and made beautiful illustrations.

This summer the coordinators at al Al Saraya Center implemented second phase of the training. The results were heart warming, reflecting the fact that children excel and become more creative when they have the opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings freely and leisurely.
Again the stories were sent to children in Gaza in IBBY libraries for illustrations, where the children interacted with the text beautifully, as it reflected their reality too and their love of Jerusalem.

“My big Dream”
Manal Al Taweel - 13 years
Malak Hussein Shabat- 15 years

On one of the days of the holy month of Ramadan, I was going with my mother and sisters to the holy Aqsa mosque.

On our way to Damascus Gate we saw a young man who looked in his early twenties, and the occupying Israeli soldiers were hitting him hard. I was very angry, and felt great pain inside me. I imagined my brother Mahdi in his place, and he cannot defend himself, the army made a surrounded him firmly. I felt a strong urge to go close to them and scream at the top of my voice so they get away from him and leave him alone; in spite of the strength that seemed inside me at the time, I felt the lack of ability and I thought that as a child thirteen years old won’t be able to help this young man and will be before the army helpless, I felt regret in my heart, After all we are occupied, there are a lot of violations against us like extra extrajudicial killings, arrests. displacement and house destructions. In addition to bad treatment at the checkpoints since more than fifty years now, and we still persevere and resist.

We continued walking towards the Aqsa mosque, we passed through the road of the valley where I saw the owners of the trading shops in the markets starting to close down in preparation for breaking the fast.. I had a strong feeling of hope at the time, that the dawn of freedom is close, when I saw these markets and its owners, for here we are and we stay.

We reached the door of Al Qataneen which is one of the doors of the Holy Aqsa mosque, where there are soldiers at the door, they search the people entering the mosque, I looked at them with despise, what is important is that we reached the Aqsa mosque!

We reached our holy place where we pray and spend beautiful time. I looked around and saw people had gotten ready for breaking their fast, so we hurried to the Dome of the Rock where my aunt “Mira” was sitting waiting for us preparing the food. Breaking our fast in the Aqsa mosque is for me more beautiful than any other place; for we gather with our beloved and meet new people for goodness, piety and love.
Al Aqsa mosque contains religious and historical sites among them the Dome of the Rock which is set with gold, beautiful decorations and shapes, the library which is full of historical books, and the museum of with the historical archaeology in it and other sites.
After we finished eating, we got ready for evening prayers; I asked God that we get liberated from occupation. There will come a day when all I asked will come true, then, my heart will be filled with joy!

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