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Notable Palestinians

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Showing 81 - 100 from 118 entries

> François Nicodeme, composer
> Yasmin Katamish, dancer
> Ibtisam Barakat: Writer, poet and educator
> Mrs Hind Husseini:
> Munib R. Masri, entrepreneur and minister
> Yousef Khasho, composer
> Husni Elias Haddad, musician, industrialist
> George Ibrahim: Theatre artist
> Fady Abu Sultan, tea seller in Gaza
> Sharif Kanaana, anthropologist and folklorist
> Hanna Giacaman, heritage keeper
> Edward Muallem: Theatre Pioneer, Actor, Trainer,...
> Musa Nasir: educator
> Musa Sanad and the Artas Folklore Center:Timeline...
> Hanna Safieh 1910-1979, photographer
> Sameeha Khalil, founder Inash al-Usra
> Mahmoud Darwish, poet
> Shereen Abu-Aqleh
> Hind Husseini
> Faisal Al-Husseini
page 5 from 6
Hind Husseini
submitted by This Week In Palestine

The Woman Behind Dar Al-Tifl

Hind Husseini, a Jerusalem socialite and a dedicated Palestinian social activist and humanist, was born in Jerusalem in 1916. She lived through times that were as turbulent as ours. The scene of the aftermath of the Jenin Refugee Camp massacre would have been all too familiar for her. In fact, an actual deja vue.
In 1948, she was head of a small women's charity called the Social Work Endeavour Society. On one April morning during that year she was on her way to a meeting when she saw clusters of children inside Jaffa Gate. She stopped long enough to scold the young children and tell them to go home since the streets were becoming dangerous with shooting. Hours later she saw the children in the same spot. The eldest among them explained: "We have no home. We are from Deir Yassin." These children were pulled out from under the rubble of Deir Yassin on April 10th, 1948. They had escaped death, but many had lost their entire families in the Irgun massacre at their village: their mothers and fathers shot in front of them, their homes destroyed, everything familiar lost.
On the spot, Hind herded the 50 children she found on the streets and took them to the two-room crèche in the Old City that her society rented. After two weeks, the fighting around the city forced them to move to the Notre Dame de Sion convent. She later took the children to live with her at her family home. Since then, her own house became the Child's Home, or "Dar Al-Tifl."
From 1948 onwards, Hind Husseini was busy establishing Dar Al-Tifl Al-Arabi in Jerusalem, building-by-building and class-by-class. Today, it is a school for commuters as well as boarders, from nursery to college level. The roomy complex of buildings is in a stately area in the heart of East Jerusalem. The Husseini ancestral home, built by Hind's great grandfather in 1790, now houses the five-room museum of traditional Palestinian art and folklore. Classes were gradually added onto the original kindergarten, one a year, since the preschool began in 1949. The school which developed was meant to be a departure from the government school curricula. Dar Al-Tifl had the first library for the primary school level and the first 'hobby' section where children could learn creative skills. Hind Husseini, who was trained in education and social work at Hamburg University, had definite ideas about children's education. She was unable to complete her own education as she had wished; the imminence of World War II prevented her from returning to Europe.
The idea of an orphanage in a society in which family lines are all-important would have been an object of pity if begun by anyone of a lesser social standing. But Hind Husseini was adamant about the right of children to grow up without complexes. "Raise your heads, never look down. Be proud. The prophet Mohammad was an orphan; Jesus was raised by his mother only. Weren't they respectable?" she used to tell the children generation after generation.
Before the 1967 war, Dar Al-Tifl had as many as 40 children sent by wealthy parents in the Gulf as boarding students. The tuition fees from these students alone paid the expenses of the 120 other children. They also helped provide a social mix of children, which Hind considered important for the children's growth and self-awareness. Dar Al-Tifl is not called an orphanage; only one-third of the 1,000 students are children who have lost one or both parents. A greater number are social welfare cases: children who can no longer stay at home, or who cannot commute to school from distant villages.
Mrs. Husseini established a women's college in the early eighties. In addition to promoting women's higher education, the college was a symbol of great defiance as the Israeli government repeatedly denied permission to build an Arab university in the city. The realization that uprooting and dispersal did not only endanger Palestinian life but its culture as well led Mrs. Husseini to establish the Palestinian Art and Folklore Museum Centre in 1978. She also established a large library for Islamic research with a core collection on the Arab heritage of Jerusalem., and a graduate programme in Islamic archaeology. Hind Husseini was able to build a monumental institution because she was endowed with great compassion for human dignity, and because she loved her people and country passionately. She passed away in 1994.

Based on an article that appeared in ALAWDAH English Weekly on June 15, 1986.

This Week in Palestine
June 2002

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