The Abu Hindi Primary School is situated in the Bedouin camp of Wadi Abu Hindi in Occupied Palestinian Territory, less than 10km east of Jerusalem.
Three years after the refurbishment of the classrooms, Abu Hindi community asked to build a playground as well as new spaces for teachers, director, and above all students, in need to have a play area and two new classes for the 10 and 11 grades inside the school fence. Indeed, when students successfully completed grade 9 they were obliged to walk 5 km on foot to reach the nearest school of Al Azarijie in order to attend grade 10 and 11 and complete secondary education. This difficulty was one of the main reasons of the increasing level of drop out.
The geographic and socio-politic context is similar of the one of Al Khan Al Ahmar primary school, with the Israeli authorities prohibiting permanent settlements. The challenge of this project is to deal with the scarce resource in a zone of political tension in addition to addressing local climate and land policy constraints. Building in this sensitive context, it is inevitable to work with velocity and simple construction methods, with a minimum cost and unskilled manpower. The construction method employed here is the same as that used on the first part of the project. Then, the playground tries to use as possible the topography of the site, saving then complicated techniques of implementation.
As for the rest of the school, the extension project and the playground of Abu Hindi are part of an international cooperation, led by Vento di Terra NGO, an organization working in Palestine for children's fundamental rights to education and health care. All the works were carried out by manpower from the local community, under the technical direction of ARCò.
The Bedouin community of Wadi Abu Hindi is a part of Al Jahalin Tribe, one of the biggest refugee tribe in the West Bank today, with more than 2700 people dispatched yet in 31 different areas. Natives from the Tel Arad district of Al-Negev desert, they had to leave from their environment and take refuge in the West Bank after the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. This context makes life very difficult, particularly for the weakest inhabitants of these villages in the desert: children.
The Valley of Abu Hindi is situated in the desert between Jerusalem and Jericho, in a place now classified in the Area C territories1, which are parts of the West Bank under an administrative and military control by the Israeli Authorities. There, the Bedouins are subjected to many prohibitions in particular to build permanent settlements. In Wadi Abu Hindi there's no connection with the electricity or communication nets, they use a hire gas oil generators, which is insufficient for the local needs and cannot work in a continuous way. Water supply is realized with a service rubber pipe of 2 cm diameter, often damaged with infiltrations. Moreover, the camp is downstream of the biggest dumping ground in the area, which is used both by Jerusalem city and Israeli nearby colonies.
The chosen technique is the same used in 2010. After the construction of a metal structure, came the installation of the pisé and bamboo layers in the two sides of the metal corrugated sheet. This technique demonstrated, in-fact, an excellent behaviour in the extreme climate of the desert.
The outdoor spaces of the school are divided in two main areas, each one of them with a very different topography. The main area on the south side, around which all the classrooms are situated, is mainly flat, while a sloped area is rises from the centre of the compound to the north. Here are situated the pavilions of the offices of manager and teachers.
The walls were built using Pisé wall and adobe bricks which are methods using compacted mix of straw, sand and clay and the different plastering was also made out of earth. The choice of the material came from a deep analysis of the specific location of the project, with its geographical and socio-political conditions.
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Description: Playground and new classrooms for the Bedouin community.
Design: ARCò - Architecture & Cooperation
Building status: in use
Construction period: 2013
Location: Wadi Abu Hindi Bedouin camp, Palestinian Territories
Coordinates: 31°45'52.1'' N, 35°17'2.7'' E
Tags: bamboo, education, participation, earth, desert
Project ID: 448
Published: 13 February 2014
Last updated: 15 April 2014
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