It was by coincidence that Shaima' and Rula Hamad, 10th graders, came to the principal's office and asked if they could use the computer lab during an MSN visit to the Al Tereh Girls Secondary School. The MSN team could not but notice the sparkle of passion these two students had in their eyes. The principal, Ms. Abeer Badran, commented: "They are working on research on Palestinian culinary history. They use the computer lab in their free time to compile all the information they gather."
USAID donated the computer lab and other necessary equipment, funded capacity-building trainings for the math, science, English and IT teachers, and implemented community outreach activities at Al Tereh Secondary Girls School as a part of the Model Schools Network (MSN) Program implemented by AMIDEAST. Shaima and Rula set a great example of how students can utilize these upgraded facilities and put them into use through extracurricular, community-based research. Shaima' noted: "We are doing a case study on culinary history in Palestine. People do not make homemade food anymore. They just go and buy stuff from the supermarket. We want people to remember Palestinian heritage and we want to do that by talking about Palestinian food and its history." Rula weighed in: "We interviewed my grandmother and helped her make some maftool. We used the school's still and video cameras to take pictures and document our work."
The computer lab USAID donated was completed, with all the computers connected to the Internet. , MSN had provided the school's teachers and administrators with extensive training. . The only thing missing was brilliant students like Rula and Shaima' to step up and follow their curiosity to the lab .They decided to put all of these resources to use and initiate their research. Rula said: "We come to the computer lab whenever we have free time. We work on the data we collect and we try to find other, new information on the internet." Shaima' immediately added: If we did not have the computer lab and the other equipment, we would not be able to work on this research."
"Once this research is done, we will work on a huge presentation and we will invite our parents, teachers and students to watch it," said Rula. Mrs. Abeer added: "They have been working on this research for two weeks now and I am really proud of them and thrilled with their enthusiasm and devotion."