Building peace in the minds of men and women

40,000 Middle East refugee children have claimed their right to education, thanks to Unesco's desert schools

On a road that stretches across the Sinai desert, there lies a small town called Khan Younes (Jonah's Inn). Once it was a busy centre of Arab Palestine's border life, the first stop for motorists travelling from Egypt to Palestine.

But, just over two years ago, war flowed and ebbed over Khan Younes ; and only now has the town, at present in Egyptian occupied territory, returned to normal life. Some of its citizens have been able to resume an almost normal existence. But many thousands of men and women are still suffering from the tragic effects of war.

And the visitor who comes to Khan Younes for the first time, is struck by most pathetic sights. Scores of tents pitched in the desert sand shelter refugees and their families. A short distance from these rather primitive living quarters are a dozen isolated tents which are used for several hours each day as schools for a few hundred refugee children, who, forgetting their misfortunes, crowd into the tents to receive an elementary school education.

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February 1951