In 2003, a San Mateo nonprofit called Rebuilding Alliance received a small grant to help a Palestinian town build a school that would not be demolished. The Village of Al Aqaba in the West Bank had just won an important agreement mediated by the Israeli High Court - they were ready to build a kindergarten. Today the kindergarten serves 160 children from the entire district and has attracted the investment of some 20 embassies, UN agencies, and NGO's - all this despite demolition orders issued against nearly all the homes, the mosque, the medical clinic, and the kindergarten.
In the process of keeping Al Aqaba Village standing and thriving, Rebuilding Alliance has learned some important lessons, such as the best way to keep a family in their home and children in their school, and the best way to keep a village standing, is for Americans to call their Congressional Representative and Senators to request intervention on their behalf. This is all the more effective when Representatives have the support of people of all faiths and backgrounds. Come hear Donna Baranski-Walker, founder of Rebuilding Alliance, talk about why it works and how constituent calls to Congress make a difference.
Rebuilding Alliance is a coalition of people and groups around the world dedicated to helping war-torn neighborhoods rebuild, and promoting policy change to make them safe. They partner with Israeli and Palestinian NGO's to help Palestinian communities with "village-centered" rebuilding.
At the same time, the organization advocates for what their web site calls "a just and enduring peace in Israel and Palestine founded upon equal value, security, and opportunity for all."
Donna Baranski-Walker has been an advocate for justice as far back as 1981. With a degree in Electrical Engineering from MIT, her founding of Rebuilding Alliance had its genesis in 1996 with her efforts to link Palestinian, Israeli and Jordanian schools using computers.
The UUSM is wheelchair accessible.
Added to the calendar on Wednesday Feb 6th, 2013 11:26 AM