Camp in Negev demystifies English for Bedouin pupils

Camp in Negev demystifies English for Bedouin pupils
Haaretz - August 12, 2005
By Daphna Berman

A week-long English day camp for Bedouin children in the Negev village of Kseife came to a close today, following what the camp's director called a "huge success."

The program, which was staffed by native English-speaking volunteers, mostly from the United States, aimed to make English "fun" and accessible to a sector that hasn't usually excelled in English studies.

"There has been a great deal of difficulty with English among the Bedouin, and so we've tried make English less scary by teaching it through games," Husam Zbarga, a local high school teacher who directs the youth activities for the village, explained.

"This has been a huge success, and the children have already begun to speak and express themselves in what limited vocabulary they have." said Zbarga.

"We've been able to break away from the fear of English, which is often seen [among Bedouin] as an obstacle toward matriculation," he added.

Some 60 sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-graders took part in the experimental camp. A large percentage of them will continue for a second, more formal study session, which begins on Sunday.

For more information or to volunteer, contact Husam at 050-231-6250.