Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, January/February 2012, Pages 46-47

Human Rights

Iqraa' Runs for Palestinian Education

altKirk Campbell (l) with Iqraa’ runners. (Photo Courtesy UPA)

Iqraa', a D.C. running club, participated in the Oct. 15 Baltimore marathon and in the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC Oct. 30 to raise money for Palestinian education. Iqraa' means "read" in Arabic and is an appropriate name for the running group, as it was founded in 2008 to raise funds for educational projects in Gaza and the West Bank.

Each runner found sponsors to contribute to the United Palestinian Appeal (UPA), a DC-based NGO founded in 1978 to help improve Palestinian lives amid occupation and economic stagnation.

According to UPA, this year Iqraa' raised $10,500, with additional funds still to come in from those who volunteered to cheer the runners and help at the marathons. It is estimated that the final total will be about $12,000.

Half of the funds will go toward scholarships for Palestinian students to attend Gaza universities, including the University of Palestine, the Islamic University of Gaza, the University College of Applied Sciences, and Al-Azhar University; the other half will support after-school tutoring for special education students at the Spafford Children's Hospital in East Jerusalem's Old City.

Iqraa' is part of the Marathon Charity Cooperation, a group of 14 charities that operate for varying causes, including the Burma Humanitarian Mission, the Faith Alliance Against Slavery and Trafficking, and the Association for India's Development.

The runners begin training in the spring of each year. Those interested in donating money, volunteering at this coming year's marathons, or joining the Iqraa' team are invited to contact club organizer Kirk Campbell at <[email protected]>, or to visit UPA's Web site at <www.helpupa.org/iqraa>.

Deena Zaru