Huge thanks to Mount of Olives, University of Montana

Mount of Olives Arabic Language and Culture club is a student group from the University of Montana located in Missoula, Montana. The club aims at promoting cross-cultural understanding through language and culture on the University of Montana campus and in the Missoula community.

Over the last few months, Mount of Olives has been working hard to fundraise for Playgrounds in Palestine. They have held various fundraisers, which have included a raffle, selling Middle Eastern Food, Photographs, Buttons and other items at the local International Cultural Festival held on the University of Montana campus and through collecting donations.

The raffle raised over three hundred dollars and included prizes donated from local community members such as cooking lessons from Restaurateur and local renowned chef Ray Risho, Middle Eastern dance classes from Aniysa, hummus from Samir Bitar and a gift certificate to The Silk Road a locally owned restaurant. The raffle and personal donations were both promoted with the help of club members and students of Arabic as well as Greek Fraternity and Sorority communities on the University of Montana campus.

At the local International Cultural Festival, which attracts more than two thousand visitors on one day, the club was able to raise over five hundred dollars with the help of volunteers selling Middle Eastern food and other items which included photographs from a student�s study abroad trip in Morocco, buttons, stickers, olive oil and scarves. The club was able to raise awareness and support for Playgrounds in Palestine on the University of Montana campus and in the Missoula community.

DAM, the first hip-hop group to come out of Israel and Palestine, recently performed at the University. Performing together since 1998, the internationally acclaimed group, made up of brothers Tamar and Suhell Nafar and their friend Mahmoud Jreriand, has recorded albums and appeared in several movies. DAM�s unique sound and socially concerned lyrics have made it accessible and appreciated by music lovers around the world, crossing demographic boundaries. President of the Arabic Language and Culture club Ashleen Williams worked to make this concert a fundraising event for Playgrounds for Palestine.

Mount of Olives hopes to continue to support Playgrounds for Palestine in the future through fundraising and raising awareness on the University campus and in the Missoula community.

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Play, while it cannot change the external realities of children’s lives, can be a vehicle for children to explore and enjoy their differences and similarities and to create, even for a brief time, a more just world where everyone is an equal and valued participant.