(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) American expat Miranda Davidson, a Dubai resident for nine years, travelled to Bethlehem four years ago for a cultural holiday. "It was my first time seeing refugee settlements and a real eye opener. Unlike the media portrayal, these people were educated and hardworking. They were forced to flee their homes and were not able to return, becoming refugees in camps."
Miranda felt her home country had lied to her. "My education system had lied to me. These people are living under one of the world's longest military occupations of the 20th and 21st centuries, 48 years and counting. Hundreds of children have been shot and killed. They are regularly bombed with teargas. The worst thing I ever saw as an American was an old gas canister saying 'Made In USA'. I was heartbroken.
"I woke up to the fact that my home country was, and still is, the number one fund-giver of this bloodshed."
Miranda knew from that very moment, "especially as an American", that she had to help. She set up interactive programmes to educate people about Palestinian history and present-day situation. "The aim is to get more people to visit Palestine, and/or create educational workshops in their city or country. The only way these people will ever return to their homes is if outsiders see and hear them."
Miranda is aware that not everyone can visit Palestine, but for those who can, they can visit the Aida refugee camp through the "To be there" tours. For those who are unable, Miranda aims to encourage them to host a workshop themselves in their area, to spread awareness.
Workshops will be free and the programmes will begin from March 16 in Abu Dhabi and March 17 in Dubai.
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