Samouni Family Community Centre & Classroom

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We are looking at sending at least one bus from the UK to Gaza, loaded with materials to set up the Samouni Family Community Centre/Classroom.  We would like to do this in the next couple of weeks so we need many things to happen very fast if we are to meet such a deadline.  Keep in mind that there are about 112 Samouni kids, two years on from Operation Cast Lead with hardly any support in so many regards, so the sooner we make a difference the better.  For 112 kids the requested items that follow are pretty modest; we will look to expand the facilities for sure, with a full educational complex planned, but the goal at this moment is ambitious yet realistic, it really is up to all of us.  I am hoping everyone who reads this will give something, big or small.  Now is the time to have a functioning classroom and community centre ASAP for this family. We have met with the family and consulted them at length, what they want, including the children, is a real learning facility where the kids can get back to where they were before Operation Cast Lead.  We have the teachers ready to go here in Gaza, teachers the kids love, we just need to get the classroom up and running.



Yesterday we managed to arrange an Internet connection for the classroom; this took some bargaining I can tell you as the Samouni’s are not in the urban part of Gaza.  We are building the official Samouni Project website right now, we have some great people on this; the site is going to be outstanding.  The website will have photos and videos of the family, the children are keen to begin writing blogs (with automatic translations from Arabic to English), and there will eventually be a forum where the family can interact with people from around the world.  This is one of my primary goals, to connect people outside of Gaza with the family, to create an extended Samouni family.



Items/Materials/Support sought immediately;

1)    A UK based coordinator to facilitate this project, this is a volunteer job.

2)    A mechanic or someone very good with vehicles that can travel to Retford, Nottinghamshire, in order to make sure the vehicle is sound and as purchased.

3)    We need the vehicle MOT’d and taxed by hopefully the same person above.

4)    Costs covered to put vinyl graphics on the bus, such as the Samouni Project logo as well as the logos of our sponsors.

5)    Costs for food, fuel, tax, MOT, and insurance for the drive to Gaza.

6)    Sponsors; we seek sponsors from unions, organizations, Mosques, community and Palestine Solidarity groups.  We propose a minimum donation of £100 to become a sponsor, but anything will help so we encourage everyone no matter what you can contribute.

7)    We will need at least two or three drivers who will have to sleep in or just outside the bus in order to ensure security.

8)    More Vehicles: if we can get a couple more vehicles, possibly even a bus that can carry the whole family in Gaza, which would be great.  There are good deals on vehicles and maybe people will have a vehicle or two that they would like to donate to the family, a work van would be ideal, but any working vehicle will be extremely valuable to the family.

9)    Computers: Ideally we will bring 12 desktop computers, mouse, keyboard, computer speakers and if possible, 12 laptop computers so each household will also have something in their home.

10) Office Chairs – 12 is perfect.

11) Webcams with Microphone Headsets for Skype calling.

12) Laser Jet Printer/Copy/Fax/Scanner with refill ink cartridges.

13) Laminating Machine with lamination sheets.

14) Digital Cameras, the more the better, all the kids love cameras.

15) LCD Projector and screen.

16) Small generator, big enough to power a small home.

17) A nice Globe for teaching.

18) Large World Map for wall.

19) Quality books with emphasis on education, history, science, etc.  English is great, but if people have Arabic language books as well, that will be fantastic.

20) We hope to bring 50 English teaching books which we already have a teacher to teach with, here is the link to the book we need;

21) We are looking for a carpenter to build Custom Bookcase and deliver to London very soon.

22) If a carpenter can work right away, we can give dimensions and precut some material for long desktops to be used for the computers and classroom.

23)  Lighting, good quality lighting, LED’s lighting would be ideal so the electricity consumption is low.  But we want something other than fluorescent lights, something warm and nice to read and learn with.

24) Musical instruments, if you have an instrument that you can give for these children to experiment with and play; this will be a beautiful contribution.  Does somebody have a Piano?

25) Office supplies, paper, paper clips, notebooks, pens, pencils (coloured as well), markers, pencil sharpener, etc.

26) Arts & Crafts of all sorts.

27) Puppets and educational toys.

28) A telescope, this has been asked for, would be great.

29) Tiles to lay on the floor, this is roughly a 10×15 metre space.


Items that would be good to bring now as well;

1)    Blankets.

2)    Clothes.

3)    Kids football shoes.

4)    Anything of value that might be useful.


If you have or are willing to purchase any of these items then please do so and email me at (please put ‘Samouni Project’ in the subject field).  If you can provide a service, volunteer to drive to Gaza or be a coordinator then again, please email me.


The following are not likely to be arranged immediately, but maybe, you never know.  But even if we cannot get these things now, I would like people to know of our longer-term goals and start looking around for ways to make this happen as well.


Supporting Independence for the family; long-term items sought;

1)    We would bring a machine that can process Tomatoes into sauce.  The Samouni family are farmers and if they had an industrial machine of this type they would be able to really get back on their feet and be independent soon.  I will get more details of the exact type of machine that would be ideal tomorrow, if you think you can help with this then message me please.

2)    A loom, an industrial loom that would allow the family to make Kuffiyeh’s, if we do this I am sure the family will have a real income with exported Kuffiyeh’s, made in Gaza, with the Samouni Family brand on it.

3)    Building materials to make a small factory/warehouse.


And last, something that would just be wonderful for the entire family, especially the boys;

1)    1) The materials to build a 5 on 5 football pitch, the cement for the foundation, the padding and artificial grass, the walls, goals, bleachers, lighting for night time play.


I am already planning to make a video with the kids inviting FC Barcelona to come out this summer and do a football camp.  I am making it clear to the kids that there are no guarantees, but if we try, we have a good chance of getting a result.


I would like to say to everyone reading this just one thing.  If we really care, we will make this next phase happen and we will do so within a couple of weeks.  We can do anything we set our minds to and what is asked for to make this project happen is completely doable.  We all have something to offer, the question is what do you have to offer?


To my Muslim and Arab brothers and sisters, the Samouni’s are your direct family; please make this project happen now.  As a community, you alone could make this happen within a week.


Love and respect to everyone who is helping with this, you are blessing yourself big time by contributing, believe me I know this all too well.


To make a contribution right now go to;


Ken O’Keefe


  • March 30, 2011, 12:25 am  

    A beautiful project, Ken. Shared on Facebook.

  • Salma Mohamed
    April 1, 2011, 4:10 pm  

    I am an English teacher, I want to share in teaching in Gaza.. I will start collecting money to buy some supplies for the classrooms, please, count me in, I want to set Palestine free 🙂

  • April 2, 2011, 6:17 pm  

    DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis April 2, 2011, 10:32 AM (GMT+02:00)
    After nearly two months of rising tension, Israel and Hamas have taken a step towards a full-blown military confrontation: Before dawn Saturday, April 2, an Israeli air strike killed three senior Hamas Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades gunmen in the Gaza Strip in an operation described by an Israeli army spokesman as pre-empting a major Palestinian terror-cum-kidnap campaign scheduled for Passover. A fourth Palestinian was seriously injured by the airborne missile which struck their car between Khan Younes and Deir el Balakh.

    The Hamas Brigades warned Israel its “dangerous escalation” would have “consequences.”

    debkafile’s military and intelligence sources predict that the war confrontation which Saturday brought closer to realization will be unlike any previous Israel-Palestinian showdowns in the sense that it will be less the product of the old Middle East order and fall more under the influence of the radical elements rising out of the current Arab unrest, especially in Cairo, amid the decline of Western influence. Hamas may also resort to jihad against “the Israeli enemy” as a distraction from the rising disaffection of the Gazan population against its increasingly repressive methods of enforcing ever stricter Islamic decrees.

    Saturday, after nearly two months of heightened Palestinian terrorist activity and low-key Israeli reprisals, both sides dropped their long pretense of seeking calm.

    Ever since the massacre of five members of an Israeli family at Itamar on Feb. 11, Israeli government leaders have tried to sell the line that Hamas was not really seeking to raise the level of violence. They continued to play down Hamas’ motives through a 50-round mortar barrage in a single day (March 19) on Israeli civilian locations abutting the Gaza Strip, several Grad missiles fired at the towns Ashkelon, Ashdod, Beersheba and Netivot and a bombing attack in Jerusalem on March 23, which killed a tourist and injured 65 after two relatively terror-free years.

    In between major attacks, the Palestinians have maintained up until the present a steady trickle of Qassam and mortar fire against Israeli civilians.
    While intensifying its attacks, Hamas picked up the convenient Israeli mantra which claimed that the terrorist-rulers of Gaza wanted nothing but a ceasefire which would also embrace all the smaller terrorist organizations taking part on the shooting as well.

    The Israeli army statement after the pre-dawn air strike over Gaza Saturday abruptly broke that pose by exposing Hamas’s true intentions for the first time. He admitted that the Palestinian radicals had set up a major murder-cum-kidnap campaign for striking terror across the Green Line and favorite Israeli vacationing spots in Sinai, to be launched during the eight-day Passover holiday April 18-28,
    debkafile’s counter-terror sources add that the three gunmen killed were only one tentacle of the network Hamas has put in place in Sinai, Jordan and on both sides of the Israel-West Bank border.

    During the months that Israeli military leaders insisted that Hamas did not seek escalation, special Palestinian military wing squads were undergoing extensive training in methods of abduction so as to add more Israeli captives to Gilead Shalit, the Israeli soldier snatched in 2006 and held since in inhuman conditions.
    The difference between the present and past conflicts is that Hamas is now drawing encouragement not just from Tehran but also from the new Egyptian regime. If the head of the military council Field Marshall Mohammed Tantawi wanted to, he could put a stop to Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Elarabi’s active policy of rapprochement with Tehran and reconciliation with Hamas leaders in Damascus and Gaza.

    It is Elaraby’s ambition to transfer Hamas’s political center headed by Khaled Meshaal from Damascus to Cairo, lift the Egyptian embargo against Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip for the free movement of people and goods and transform the enclave into Egypt’s launching pad for an anti-Israeli policy harking back to the hostility predating the epic peace relations President Anwar Sadat forged with Israel in 1979.

    The new rulers are also distancing themselves from the close alliance the deposed Hosni Mubarak maintained with Saudi Arabia. While Riyadh fights Iranian-backed insurgents in Bahrain and slams the door on further encroachments in the Arab world, Cairo is opening it wide to give the Islamic Republic a foothold both in Cairo and in Gaza. Hamas is encouraged to spread its sphere of aggression from the half million Israeli civilians within missile range to far broader regions.

    When US Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited Cairo on March 24, he tried to warn the military rulers that their indulgence of Hamas was bound to end badly in an Israeli military campaign to cut short its belligerent behavior. But three days later, when he was in Israel, he had to admit to his hosts that his warning fell on deaf ears.

  • B.A.Frémaux-Soormally
    April 3, 2011, 3:48 pm  


    I live in London E17 9TA (Walthamstow) and can help. Where can I contact your coordinator? I do have some educational material, books, encyclopaedias, and office material that I can give. And, if need be, I can even assist by correspondence or otherwise.

    Good luck to you and your team.


    Sunday 3rd April 2011

  • April 15, 2011, 5:18 am  

    Cool. Great. Wonderful.

  • B.A.Frémaux-Soormally
    April 20, 2011, 5:15 am  

    R…… visited me a while ago. I hope he was not disappointed. GOD BLESS YOU ALL OVER THERE!


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