Grandmother hosts exhibition on joining Palestinian fight

YOUR LOCAL GUARDIAN MARCH 2 2012

Sutton By James Pepper

A 69-year-old grandmother who travelled to the West Bank to help Palestinian families has helped curate a new exhibition.

Doris Richards, gave the young people of Yanoun – a small community of Palestinian farmers and shepherds – a disposable camera each during her trip, to get them to capture a snapshot of their turbulent lives.

A tiny village surrounded by Israeli settlers, Yanoun’s youngsters have very little to do and very few safe places to go, according to Mrs Richards.

“I thought that by giving the children a camera, it would give them something fun to do. Its is pretty bleak for them out there, constantly avoiding rocks being thrown at them by the settlers.”

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Mrs Richards herself had to dodge rocks when she was helping a Palestinian who was having her house taken away as part of the illegal house clearances which are a regular occurrence in the west bank.

The grandmother of one said: “I had rocks thrown at me for trying to help the villagers. In fact, the person who saved me from getting hit went to prison for seven days. Its just awful.”

A new exhibition which was unveiled this week at Greenshaw High School, paints a picture of the lives the young people of village lead.

Mrs Richards said: “All the pictures were taken by six to ten year olds. During the summer they look after the flock of sheep, but this gave them something different to do, and the pictures are great.”

After seeing an advert for the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel, asking for volunteers in the West Bank, Mrs Richards decided to offer her services last year.

She said: “When I looked at it, I thought, I had the skills make up needed and I thought even at my age I thought I could help. It is never too late.”

Whilst in Jerusalem Mrs Richards was informed she had become a grandmother for the first time.

She said: “Life is now complete.”

Monday’s (February 27) exhibition will move to Wandle Valley School and tour other schools in the borough over the next two months.





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