Thousands of Friends worldwide know the name of Violet Zaru, founder and director of two play centers for refugee children, including the current Friends Play Centre at the Amari Refugee Camp in Ramallah.
Earlier this year, Violet and her sister Leila left their beloved Ramallah for their brother Nadim's home in Amman, Jordan, so that Leila could receive specialized medical care. FUM interim general secretary Sylvia Graves and I visited the sisters and their family on May 30. A few days ago we received the sad news that Violet died at her brother's home in Amman, on Wednesday, July 12, at age 84.
The funeral took place on Friday. Her sister-in-law Samia wrote: "The Evangelical Bishop Diab did the service and we all joined in hymns she liked. Many of her students attended the funeral.
"Mr Akel Biltaji talked about her as his teacher at FGS and later as a colleague at the Friends Boys School. During the service speech Mr Biltaji announced the establishment of a fund in her name for educating students at the Friends Boys or Girls Schools. Mr Farouk Shami of Houston Texas, of the famous CHI hairdressing products and an FBS graduate, started the fund.
"Violet's teaching career started at Friends Girls School and Friends Boys School. She later taught English at UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) Teacher Training Center in Ramallah. Later she became the head of the Teacher Training Department at the Women Teacher Training Center until retirement. After retirement Violet started a Quaker Kinder Garden for Palestinian Refugee children at Ammari Camp in Ramallah. She worked hard for the upkeep of the School untill the year 2002 when she gave the responsibility to the staff she trained. Many of her kids have graduated in professions such as medicine and others.
"Violet was a devoted Quaker and a hard worker in her field of Education. Violet is a Friends Girls School graduate and later graduated with a Masters Degree in Education and English in the USA.
"Violet came to Amman with her sister Leila who needed medical care in Amman. Nadim, their brother, wanted them to be in good hands and around the Zaru family since all the rest were already in the USA.
"Violet will be missed by her friends and students, especially by those who met her daily walking from her house on Radio to downtown Ramallah. She loved people and everybody loved her and I am sure will miss her. She was yearning to go to Ramallah back to the trees, streets and people she loved but destiny was faster.
"Violet is survived by her brother Nadim Zaru and Samia, their children Faris, Omar, Nasir, Maha; and Leila, her sister, and by the late Faud Zaru family: Jean Zaru and children Saleem, Suha and Walid."