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Friends of Nablus
and Surrounding Areas


FONSA newsletter April 2011

Jean in Nablus

This latest edition of our FONSA newsletter is being edited by me, Jean – a FONSA trustee, direct from Nablus! I have been lucky enough to spend a semester teaching at An Najah National University, where many of the students you, our donors, have sponsored, are studying.

We want to make it a regular newsletter feature to include a profile of a student who FONSA is supporting. This time it is Khaled a final year engineering student.

FONSA has been busy as usual. During my time here it has been very pleasing to receive a lot of compliments about the work we do and how we operate.

We hope you will find this newsletter interesting and informative and that you will continue to actively support our work. We need to plant more trees, carry on supporting students so they can complete their courses – and work in partnership with other organisations and twinning groups to bring about even more practical benefits to families and communities

 Newsletter 4 on our website.

Supporting students

From the beginning FONSA has supported needy students, both at university and at technical and nursing colleges. With your help we can do more.

Student Profile: Introducing Khaled

Interviewed in Nablus by Jean
Khaled sitting with Jean beside him
Khaled with Jean in the library of An Najah University, Nablus

I met Khaled in the gleaming new library at An Najah University’s new campus. He is 21 and, with help from FONSA, he is in his 4th and final year in electrical engineering.

He lives with his parents and three sisters in a small village of 2–3 thousand on the outskirts of Nablus called Yaseed. His father no longer works – before the second intifada he like many Palestinians worked in Israel. His mother keeps goats and makes cheese for the family and sells it to other villagers.

Me: why did you choose electrical engineering? I take it you were good at science and maths at school?

Khaled: Yes I was, and I suppose I got good grades too. Life depends on electricity – there are many villages in Palestine without much street lighting at all. I want to help my village and villages like it. There is often not enough money and the government often tends to concentrate on the needs of people in towns.

Khaled is very ambitious – yet modest – and would really like to do a Masters – either in the UK or in a French speaking country. In fact I have met him a few times at the French Cultural Centre in Nablus where he takes French classes. His final year project is the development and use of solar power. There is very little use of this in the West Bank, and he acknowledges it is very expensive in the first instance. He recognises it can be difficult to get jobs, even for graduates but remains optimistic.

He spoke a little about his experiences as a young Palestinian living under occupation. About 4 years ago, so when he was 17, he and some friends were stopped by 7 or 8 soldiers from the Israeli army. Palestinians are supposed to carry their ID all the time ... but one friend forgot and he was very roughly treated.

There are no settlements near his village so he and his family are not directly affected by the increase in recent settler activities. In his spare time he is a keen member of his village volley ball team and plays in tournaments. He would like to get involved in his village council in the future – and do his best to help his village develop. He wants FONSA donors to know how grateful he is for the financial support he has been given to complete his first degree.

If you would like to sponsor a student like Khaled, below is a breakdown of typical costs currently per semester. Most first degree courses last 4 years, some like medicine longer.

Sponsoring students

You need not consider sponsoring a student personally for a whole semester: any money you donate will be added to other donations. The more funds we receive, the more students we can support. You can donate by standing order or you can donate online.

Approximate cost of student fees for one semester

Veterinary Degree:£825
Media and Journalism:£525
Humanities/Economics/Fine Arts/Education:£390
Costs are for An Najah National University, Nablus
In addition there is a registration fee of between £30–50 depending on the School.

Recent News

Blocked from planting trees

March 2011
No Entry sign

In March, a group of 11 young men from Dundee set off for Nablus to meet people from their twin city (Dundee has been twinned with Nablus for more than 30 years).

They raised enough money including £800 for FONSA to buy over 200 olive trees. They planned to plant them in Iraq Burin during their stay. But when they tried to cross from Amman through the Allenby Bridge, the Israeli border control detained them for 7 hours and then refused them entry.

There is no way into Palestine without going through Israeli controls. So they had to abandon their trip to Nablus but instead managed to meet Palestinian refugees in Jordan. The trees were planted by local farmers and helpers from Nablus.


Please sponsor Mike – cycling for FONSA

Etape Caledonia - May 2011
Mike on his bike in the snow
Mike on his bike in the snow

One of our Trustees – Mike – is going to cycle further than he has ever cycled before in a day. He is hoping to raise at least £10 for each of the 81 miles which will all be for FONSA. Your support will help to keep those pedals turning and to support Nablus. You can donate online (with gift aid included – if eligible) at Virgin Money Giving.

The event takes place in Perthshire on 15th May and includes a climb up the foothills of Schiehallion. The roads are closed for 6.5 hours so the aim is to maintain an minimum average speed of 13mph.

From the Chair of FONSA

What is special about FONSA?

Written in Nablus
Dr Nehad Khanfar
Dr Nehad Khanfar,
Chair of FONSA

FONSA is one of the most well regarded charities working in Nablus and the surrounding area. We believe this is so because we work practically and strive to bring about real achievements on the ground. Despite the fact that FONSA is a small charity and in some respects a new one compared to others, we can say that FONSA invests almost every single pound for the benefit of people in need, and for the benefit of the community: so trees are planted and students are supported; we buy what people say they need: an electricity generator, water pump or tanker; we help build a class room and renovate a village clinic.

We are proud of our work and the fact that ordinary people can see what we stand for. Through support from donors such as you, we are able to touch people’s lives here in the West Bank. Thank you for your continued interest and generosity.

Best wishes and many thanks from the entire FONSA committee and Treasurer. We hope you enjoyed this newsletter and hope you will consider passing it on to others. We welcome any comments or feedback.


How to Donate

Always important

We have many valuable projects which need your donations which are much appreciated. Standing orders work particularly well and our standing order form is very easy to fill in.

You can donate on-line (with a debit or credit card) at the FONSA page on Virgin Money Giving

Please remember to tick the "Gift Aid" box if you are an eligible UK taxpayer. It gives us an additional 28% income at no cost to you.

We are all volunteers and we have very little overhead; nearly all of the money you donate to us goes directly to the projects described above. We thank you for your support.

FONSA Trustees

This newsletter is sent to you because you are a supporter of FONSA or have expressed an interest in its work.  To unsubscribe, please send an email to with Unsubscribe as the subject.

Correspondence for the Treasurer and donations should be sent to:
FONSA Treasurer, 109 Southdown Avenue, LONDON W7 2AE

Our registered address is:
FONSA, 9 Broad Street, TAYPORT DD6 9AH Phone: 07761 104 609

Visit our website at or use a credit or debit card to donate on-line

Copyright © 2008-11 FONSA All rights reserved.

Friends of Nablus and Surrounding Areas (known as FONSA)
is a Registered Scottish Charity No. 038502