A Prize Winner

Her children suffered great trauma in 2000 when the vehicle in which they were driving was fired upon by soldiers. Their Dad, the driver, was wounded. Their Mother, though not in the car, observed the growing night screaming and aggressiveness of her off-spring. Like a good mother, she tried to find a way to lessen the terrible affects of a terrible experience. She noticed that her five children were happiest at play. So, she set aside a potion of their house as a “Safe” place to play, often joining the children in games involving crayons and balloons.

Later, their mother, a Palestinian woman named Ms. Hroub, became a teacher. She applied her game therapy to her teaching methods. Her students responded positively, increasing their test scores while learning how to interact more positively.

Ms. Hroub’s efforts were recognized recently by the Varkey Foundation. The Foundation awarded her one million dollars to continue spreading her play therapy to other classrooms through-out the region and beyond. Not all members of the international community rejoiced in the recipient of the prize, the one chosen out of 8000, because Ms. Hroub’s husband was involved in the deaths of several Israelies.

Ms. Hroub waves away questions about politics. She said, in a NYT article, “I’m a teacher. That’s me. I cannot change history, what happened before 10 or 20 years.”

I admire Ms. Hroub because she did not grow bitter, not self-pitying. She saw a problem affecting her sphere of influence and she created a solution. It was such a joy to see a photo of a Palestinian woman unveiled, arms uplifted, smiling in delight as she received her prize.

NYT, Saturday, April 2, 2016

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