Students from ten Qatar Foundation schools have come together to plant 50 olive trees, symbolizing their support and solidarity for Palestine. These trees, situated in “Gaza Garden” in Education City, represent unity, resilience, and a deep connection to the land.
The student-led initiative is being overseen by Rola El-Annan, Meditational Sciences Teacher and Counselor at Qatar Academy Doha (QAD), part of Qatar Foundation’s (QF) Pre-University Education (PUE).
“Our goal is to inspire students through diverse learning activities to reconsider and re-evaluate the perspectives, beliefs, values, definitions, and emotions that have shaped our past experiences and brought us to where we are today. We aim to harness this learning to create a better future for the world,” she said.
El-Annan stressed that QAD prioritizes the opinions of students, and there is a strong emphasis on nurturing self-awareness and self-expression. The school aims to actively promote critical thinking, emotional depth, and authenticity while providing safe spaces for students to share their thoughts.
“We are encouraging students to take the lead in these activities and, in turn, inspire others to do the same, as fostering curious and creative leaders is one of our key objectives at QAD,” she said.
“Our students have displayed various emotions in response to the situation in Palestine, openly sharing their feelings and inquiring about what is happening. We are committed to providing them with support during this time, and this initiative is one of the ways we do so.
“The enthusiasm from the students who actively participated in planting the trees was palpable. It was an opportunity for them to reflect on their emotions surrounding the situation and demonstrate their capacity to initiate positive change, all while expressing support for the people of Palestine.”
El-Annan explained that the goal of the initiative is to also highlight the importance of sustainability, saying: “The olive tree, an eco-friendly and sustainable plant, provides fruit, oil, and timber. Its wood has a low carbon footprint, and its products are environmentally friendly.”
Ibrahim Ali Bojssoum, a 10-year-old student at Tariq Bin Ziad School, part of QF’s PUE, said: “We have expressed our support for Palestinian by planting olive trees here in Qatar. It made us feel like active participants, sparking our curiosity to explore and learn more, because this cause is relevant to all of us.
"I'm happy that our school is teaching us about the situation in Palestine. I am happy to be part of this project – I know that planting these trees will become an important memory for me.
“And we didn't just learn about Palestine,” he added. “We went on an educational adventure. We learned how to take care of the land, about farming, and different aspects of sustainability. It showed us that everything is connected, and we can make the world a better place.”
Kenan Nizar Muhammad, an 11-year-old student at Qatar Academy Al Khor, part of QF’s PUE, said: “When I was younger, my grandparents used to plant olive trees in Palestine and would tell me about them. So, having these trees here in Qatar makes me feel closer to my home.
“I really like the idea of planting an olive tree with my schoolmates and learning about what's happening in Palestine. It makes me happy to see them care, understand why supporting Palestine is important, and their empathy towards me as a Palestinian – they understand how I am feeling.”