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Over lunch, she helps build schools

More than Dh500,000 (US$136,000) was raised at a women's lunch yesterday with Queen Rania of Jordan, money that will help to develop schools in Palestine.

ABU DHABI // More than Dh500,000 (US$136,000) was raised at a women's lunch yesterday with Queen Rania of Jordan, money that will help to develop schools in Palestine. Queen Rania launched the Madrasati Palestine initiative last month. The first stage will involve 22 schools in East Jerusalem under the auspices of the Jordanian Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs. About 7,956 students study at the schools.

"Throughout the years, the occupation has prevented schools in Palestine from expanding their buildings, thus pushing students out on to the street and into casual jobs," Queen Rania said at the launch of the Madrasati Palestine Women's Network, a group of women from the Arab world who will hold functions and events to support the project. "Ten thousand children in Jerusalem didn't go to school today, and they won't be going this year," she added.

About 380 women attended the charity event yesterday at the Intercontinental Hotel's ballroom. It was organised by five network members in Abu Dhabi. A documentary was screened showing the decline of education in East Jerusalem, where 94,000 school-aged children live. Most Palestinian boys drop out of school, the documentary showed. The lunch was followed by a fashion show for traditional dresses, followed by the auction of a traditional Jordanian dress that dates to the 1920s. It sold for Dh60,000.

The Madrasati project began in Jordan two years ago to develop 500 disadvantaged schools around Jordan. Three hundred have already been developed under the project. "After the success of the Madrasati Jordan project, Queen Rania decided to expand the project to create a global network. So delegations of 95 women were invited from different Arab countries to Jordan to see the progress of Madrasati Jordan, in order to help support the Madrasati Palestine project," said Khouloud Muqattash, a member of the women's network in Abu Dhabi. @Email:hdajani@thenational.ae

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