While inside Damon prison in Haifa, the Palestinian politician and academic Khalida Jarrar launched an initiative to educate Palestinian women in Israeli prisons more than two years ago.
In cooperation with Al-Quds Open University and the Palestinian Ministry of Higher Education, the unprecedented initiative allows female prisoners to study for bachelor’s degrees in social work, history, and Islamic law. The university itself has a programme that guarantees prisoners in Israeli jails the right to continue university education.
Today, eight months after Jarrar’s release from Damon prison last September, the initiative is continuing, with seven female students currently enrolled.
Jarrar is proud of her initiative.
“Education is liberating for women, because it helps them expand their knowledge, strengthen their personality, and gives them a degree of independence to face society and its problems, as well as helping them find work after leaving prison,” she said in a recent interview with Al-Fanar Media.
Jarrar said her students would study for a Bachelor of Social Work after they had passed the Ministry of Higher Education’s conditions, which include a high school completion exam score over 60 percent and being able to study for four years.
She added that completing their education despite being in jail “is part of the prisoners’ resistance to the occupation’s efforts to keep them isolated from the outside world, unaware of the development of events and education.”