Terje Adkins

Terje Adkins (Sweden)

I am a 55-year-old teacher from Gothenburg, Sweden. I have four fantastic children however only one remains at home. Three of them are my own but the oldest is found family, she is Palestinian from the Shatila refugee camp in Beirut. She lived with us for several years but now she has her own family in Stockholm. My father, who was Swedish and passed away 10 years ago, and my mother, who grew up during the Nazi occupation in Norway and is still around, told me about growing up during the war and having to deal with soldiers and collaborators around them.

As a teacher I have always been engaged in the well-being of children, especially for immigrant children in disadvantaged areas. In my former school “Gårdstensskolan” I participated for many years as a teacher in a cooperation with Children and Youth Centre in Shatila (CYC). During this time, we had an organized exchange between the children and some of them even visited each other. In 2003
some colleagues and I along with a group of students visited CYC in the refugee camp in Shatila. We had a very educational exchange, and this started my long commitment for the Palestinians struggle. One of the most important things about our cooperation has been to spread knowledge about their situation as it was and as it still is today.

Along with my teacher profession I have a big commitment to our teacher’s union “Sveriges Lärare” (former Lärarförbundet and Lärarnas Riksförbund). From this autumn I will work 80 % as a union rep. I have a seat in the national board and in the local board in Gothenburg. In Gothenburg I am the international contact for the union. As such I have invited different speakers who hold talks about the situation for children and teachers around the world. Among invited people several have talked about the children in Palestine and in the refugee camps. This I have done with the help from CYC Swedish fundraising foundation in Gothenburg. which I’m still involved with.

So why do I want to participate in the boat trip with Handala? We are obligated to get involved. The Israeli government’s criminal blockade of Gaza, crimes against both human rights and the rights of the children must stop. By participating in the boat trip with Handala “For the children of Gaza”, we can help spread information and put focus on the situation in Gaza especially how the situation is for the children. The world needs to see how the innocent children in Palestine are being robbed of their future. If I with my engagement can help the Palestinian children to hold on to their hopes and dreams, a lot is won.

Terje Adkins