It breaks my heart to witness any child living in fear. House of Hope stands for every child in the Holy Land, for neglected children, for traumatized children.
In Palestine, childhood is different than in other parts of the world. Children here live in misery under the Israeli military occupation. In their minds, the image of the enemy is big and scary, and they learn to fear differences. Hatred and racism are growing in the streets as people shout with anger: “He is a Jew!”, “He is a Muslim!”, “He is a Christian!”
House of Hope teaches students many tools for relating to themselves and to their neighbors in Israel. One of the most important is mutual respect. We do not judge or condemn Muslims, Jews or Christians, but instead teach of the power and beauty found in coexistence and dialogue.
Our students are able to respect people outside of their community because they first respect themselves. At House of Hope we never judge students for their color, physical needs, talents, or whether they are rich, poor or abused. These kids should not pay a price for their parent’s circumstances or their family history. These kids are welcomed to our beloved community at House of Hope where all people meet under the same roof of freedom, dignity, and tolerance.
All our kids should achieve greatness in life and be in good positions. But House of Hope students are humans first. They need all the care, attention, and love because they are children, not based on their intellect or other accomplishments. In many schools, a student’s image is more important than their inner emotional and spiritual health. But they are not products. They are the creation of the Almighty God.
Rudolf Steiner, the founder of the Waldorf approach to education which deeply informs House of Hope, once said: “Our highest endeavor must be to develop free human beings who are able of themselves to impart purpose and direction to their lives. The need for imagination, a sense of truth, and a feeling of responsibility—these three forces are the very nerve of education.”
At House of Hope, we educate by nurturing the wholeness of body, soul, and spirit. We believe that focusing only on the intellect leads to antisocial behavior, failed relationships, and miscommunication. Our goal at House of Hope is not to create a future population that will engage in world destruction through materialism, individualism, and extremism. We are helping our kids to be engaged in the healing process through environmental education, biodynamic farming, arts, handicraft and music therapy. These tools will help our kids to respect themselves first and then develop their social behaviors to be creative, productive and responsible.
Can the world see a smile in the midst of pain? Can the world hear the voice of the child in need? Can the world see the tears of abused women? Can the world see a candle in a poor house? Can we feel the hunger of the poor in our neighborhood?
Thank you, all of our friends, for seeing our smiles and hearing our pain. Thank you for keeping House of hope open through your prayers, solidarity, and support.
Salaam, peace, shalom,
Milad Vosgueritchian, co-founder and chairman, House of Hope