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Advocates of Palestinian school, artisans honored for 17 years of service

Launched in their honor: a fundraiser to build an addition to Rawdat El Zuhur School

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Images of the Middle East welcomed guests to a gathering at the 219th General Assembly (2010) in celebration of the mission and vision of the Rawdat El Zuhur School in East Jerusalem and in honor of the achievements of two of the school’s most passionate advocates.

The Rev. Elizabeth “Liz” Knott, founder of Pal Craftaid, which hosted the reception at Westminster Presbyterian Church, and Connie DePond were each recognized upon their retirement from Pal Craftaid as well as for that ministry’s financial support of primarily Palestinian Christian-managed organizations such as the Rawdat El Zuhur School.

Pal Craftaid is an all-volunteer, nonprofit ministry that provides much-needed income to Palestinian artisans through the sale of handmade crafts.

“For more than 17 years, Knott and DePond have coordinated the efforts of Pal Craftaid to import Palestinian olivewood sculptures and traditional needlework and then to find outlets for the sales,” said Carol Hylkema, president of Pal Craftaid’s board of directors. “Through the years, more than $500,000 has been returned to the Palestinian economy while paying all of our artisans fairly.”

Following a slideshow featuring testimonials from students, teachers and administrators from Rawdat El Zuhur, an elementary, co-educational school serving 250 Palestinian children mainly from lower-income communities, Knott and DePond thanked the board and the event’s guests for the tribute and their support.

Hylkema announced the launch of Pal Craftaid’s first fundraiser in honor of Knott and DePond.  The $50,000 goal is to create a much-needed multipurpose room at Rawdat El Zuhur.

Hylkema announced that Pal Craftaid’s board of directors had already committed $20,000 toward the goal. She encouraged supporters to make pledges and gifts in $17 increments to honor Knott’s and DePond’s 17 years of ministry.