VARIOUS LOCATIONS, JORDAN
A new generation of Palestinian women is growing up in refugee camps throughout the Middle East.
VARIOUS LOCATIONS, JORDAN
1. TV & SVs Refugee camp; women fetching water (4 shots) 0.17
2. SV Schoolgirls walking to classrooms (2 shots) 0.24
3. SV Students alight from bus at Wadi Seer training centre; women students (2 shots) 0.39
4. SVs Women students in drafting class (2 shots) 0.53
5. SCU Mrs Hayat Yavi (Phonetic), Principal of the Amman Training Centre, speaking over SVs women in typing and physical education classes; women students eating in college canteen (SOT) (10 SHOTS) 2.06
6. SVs Worker in aluminium factory; secretary in factory office (3 shots) 2.20
7. GVs & SVs Women doctors and nurses in hospital wards and surgery (5 shots) 2.58
8. SVs Women surveyors at work on building site (8 shots) 3.29
SPEECH TRANSCRIPT (SEQ. 5):
YAVI: "The old Palestinian generation were deprived of education, especially women, due to many factors. Now these elderly women, our mothers, are ready to sacrifice everything in order to furnish the chance for her daughter to start her elementary, preparatory, secondary and university education. Education is life for a Palestinian woman and through education, she builds so many hopes. Palestinian women are so keen on having their education to the fullest. If you happen to visit any refugee camp or any other area where Palestinians reside, you would see even a Palestinian child so enthusiastic and keen to start his education from his elementary cycle until hopefully reaching his university stage."
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: VARIOUS LOCATIONS, JORDAN
A new generation of Palestinian women is growing up in refugee camps throughout the Middle East. Of the one million women living in these camps, half are under the age of 20. These young women are becoming educational pioneers in the Arab world, an area where the overall level of literacy among women is low and where only half the female school-age population attends primary school. Among Palestinian refugee women today, however, the level is the highest in the Middle East -- almost equal to that of the industrialised nations. In a society which still clings to the traditional role of women, Palestinians are blazing trails which serve as brave examples to other women in the Middle East.
SYNOPSIS: An entire generation of Palestinians has grown up in refugee camps since the state of Israel was created in 1948 and thousands fled their traditional homelands. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) was set up more than 30 years ago to car for homeless Palestinians. Now, its health, welfare and educational programmes are the mainstay of camp life.
UNRWA has set up more than 650 schools in refugee camps, with the co-operation of another United Nations body, the United Nations Educational, Social and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). In 1951, just over 20 per cent of students at these schools were girls; today, the figure is 50 per cent. But chronic financial problems are a serious threat to UNRWA's education programmed. It was only international donations which saved many schools from closing two years ago. As school rolls increase each year, the cash shortage becomes more acute. Hundreds of qualified applicants to UNRWA's training centres are turned away each year because of lack of space.
The Wadi Seer training centre near the Jordanian capital of Amman was an all-male stronghold until 1979. Co-education there has given hundreds of women the opportunity to learn technical, professional and para-medical skills. And as a result, women are entering occupations which have hitherto been a male preserve. Although the stereotyped courses for women -- such as dress-making and hairdressing -- are available, hundreds of students are turning to non-traditional occupations. The principal of the Amman Training Centre, Mrs. Hayat Yavi (PHONETIC):
Attitudes to educating women are changing. Parents now realise that their daughters can contribute to the family income. The changing role of Palestinian women is essentially economic but increasingly, women themselves are choosing education and a career as a means of self-fulfilment as well as economic independence.
Palestinian women graduates are entering the professions and UNRWA itself boasts a large number of women administrators, supervisors and teachers. There are no definitive employment statistics for Palestinian women but there are marked trends UNRWA believes that more than 90 per cent of women graduate find employment each year in the Arab world. Similarly, more than 90 per cent of women teacher-training graduates work in UNRWA schools or others throughout the Middle East.
For the most part, women in Arab countries fulfil the traditional, conservative roles. But changes are imminent. Women are making their way in the community, overcoming centuries of prejudice and sex-role stereotyping. Education has become the key to social and economic freedom. The loss of land, lifestyles and livelihoods for Palestinian refugees has been replaced by a determination to succeed in their adopted countries. The sense of community and the strength of the family unit remain. But for the nation of stateless people, the Palestinians see their future being assured through education of their young. And for Palestinian women, education opens a world which tradition and prejudice have often denied them.