Gaza girl, 13, teaches neighbourhood children during school closure

A Palestinian school girl Fajr Hmaid, 13, teaches her neighbours’ children an Arabic language lesson as schools are shut due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions, at her family house in Gaza, May 19, 2020. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

GAZA (Reuters) – In a wooden shack in the Gaza Strip, a 13-year-old girl holds classes for neighbourhood children who have missed out on their studies since schools were closed in March due to the novel coronavirus crisis.

Only 20 people have tested positive for the virus in the Hamas Islamist-run Palestinian enclave, where cross-border traffic has long been limited by Israel and Egypt and those entering Gaza in recent months have gone into quarantine.

Fajr Hmaid, who hopes to become a professional teacher one day, provides English, Arabic and math lessons to a class that has grown from four pupils to 15.

“I wanted to bring them here and teach them, this is my talent,” Hmaid said, wearing a white head-covering in the religiously conservative enclave.

“I have one girl in first grade. If she is absent from school for a period of time, she will forget how to grab the pen and how to write.”

Gaza teachers have also been giving lessons online during the health crisis.

Fajr’s father, Bandar Hmaid, said he was fine with the role his daughter has taken on.

“I said okay – but don’t make noise,” he said.

Writing by Nidal Almughrabi,; Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Ed Osmond

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