UNRWA students in Gaza Connect with Japanese Research Station in Antarctica

07 November 2019
Students from al-Rimal Preparatory Co-Ed school “C” during their participation in an online session with Japanese scientists from the Syowa Station in Antarctica © 2019 UNRWA Photo by Ibrahim Abu Osheba.

Gaza and Antarctica are not two places that are often connected, yet, connect they did. Thanks to modern technology,   28 students between grades one and nine from the al-Rimal Preparatory Co-Ed School “C” in Gaza, and two UNRWA teachers who visited Japan in March 2019, joined an online session organized with the 60th Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition Wintering Team at Syowa Station in Antarctica in early October of this year. The research team introduced the students to life in Antarctica, the mission of the research station and their daily life practices.

“This is my first time to participate in such sessions. I am so thrilled and excited to see how life beyond the borders of Gaza is and to hear new information, as well,” said ninth-grader Daniya Saqer.

The "Syowa" Antarctic base (also called "Showa") is a scientific research station established by Japan in January of 1957.  The research activities at the base include the physics of the high atmosphere, meteorology, seismology, gravimetrics, geodesy and cartography, oceanography, glaciology, geology, geography, terrestrial and marine biology and medical investigation.

The session was opened by sharing some interesting scientific experiments to pique the student’s interest It included a presentation with photos, videos, and infographics followed by an open discussion, with students raising questions, including the impact of climate change on Antarctica. 

 

A student from al-Rimal Preparatory Co-Ed school “C” asks the Japanese scientists at Syowa Station a question. © 2019 UNRWA Photo by Ibrahim Abu Osheba.
A student from al-Rimal Preparatory Co-Ed school “C” asks the Japanese scientists at Syowa Station a question. © 2019 UNRWA Photo by Ibrahim Abu Osheba.

The exchange was a great opportunity for students in Gaza to learn about life outside the small coastal enclave. Opportunities for traveling outside of Gaza are virtually non-existent due to the blockade and 90 per cent of the some 280,000 students from 276 UNRWA schools have never left the Gaza Strip in their lives. 

UNRWA recognizes the critical need for Gaza students to understand and connect with the world beyond Gaza. Therefore,  the Agency always seeks opportunities through which Palestine refugee students can connect and share ideas with their peers and others outside Gaza. The annual exchange with the Japanese research station in Antarctica, the fourth of its kind, is organized in collaboration with the education programme and the kind assistance of a Japanese UNRWA colleague, Miki Youshida, working in the Projects Office in Gaza.