3 July 2012, Amman -- Using just one everyday eggshell, a team of four girls at an UNRWA school used their knowledge of chemistry to purify water that had been polluted by iron.
The girls’ idea won first prize at a chemistry competition in April 2012, which brought together students from public, private, and other UNRWA schools across Jordan.
“Our experiment can be used for water coolers in factories”, said Rahmeh Abu-Awwad, a tenth-grade student on the team. “This method could also purify wastewater so it can be used on agricultural lands.”
Competing with the whole school’s backing
The team from Al-Nathief Prepatory Girls’ School was brought together for the competition by Tamara Al-Zummur, the school’s chemistry teacher. Al-Zummur had also coached the school’s team last year, when they placed second overall.
“I knew there were four students in the tenth grade who were clever enough to win this year”, Al-Zummur said. “They did their best at this, and I am proud of their achievement.”
The rest of the school was cheering them on from the start, especially Headteacher Samar. “I am proud of them for showing what our students and teachers can accomplish when they are given the support and encouragement to participate.”
Worth the effort
Working late into the evenings after classes, from February until March, the girls and their teacher expanded on the lessons from the day with a practical experiment with real-life benefits.
The more materials and equipment they needed, the more Headteacher Samar provided. And in the end, it was all worth the effort. “Our happiness was beyond words when we heard they ranked first in the Kingdom”, Al-Zummur said.
UNRWA and education
As the UN agency responsible for the welfare of Palestine refugees, UNRWA provides free, basic education to over 486,000 students, including over 117,000 in Jordan. With a special commitment to human rights, UNRWA’s school system pioneered gender equality in enrolment in the Middle East.