John Aves Education Project (JAEP)

JAEP was set up in memory of Revd Canon Dr John Aves. John, was living and volunteering in Dheisheh, one of three Palestinian refugee camps in Bethlehem at the time of his sudden death in January 2004.  The refugee camps were established in 1948, when Palestinians either fled or were expelled from their homes following the Arab-Israeli War.  For ten years the people lived in tents, in 1958 the United Nations started to replace these with concrete dwellings.

Just the day before he died, John wrote that he was returning with hope because of his experiences in Dheisheh where the people are determined to place their hopes in educating their children To make this hope a reality, family and friends set up the John Aves Education Project (JAEP)

John Aves Education Project (JAEP) update November 2020

 As we continue to live through extraordinary times, we wanted to say a huge thank to all supporters.

Incredibly, to date, we have raised over £410,000 and financially supported forty one young people, thirty two girls and nine boys, to enable them to gain an undergraduate degree. We are funding another sixteen students from October 2020, 13 at Al Quds university and 3 at Bethlehem University taking the total to fifty six.

Recent visit. We returned to spend time with JAEP current and past students at both Al Quds University and Dheisheh in February 2020

The purpose of our regular monitoring visits is threefold:

  • To join current and past JAEP students for their classes, which demonstrates that we have selected engaged, hard working students and so ensure we are spending your donations wisely
  • To spend time with JAEP students at both their university and Dheisheh camp where they live, so we can hear their stories and understand more about their situation, which informs our talks.
  • To continue building links with local universities

 Join JAEP young people for their classes

There are currently seventeen JAEP students studying at Al Quds University. (Their weekend is Thursday and Friday).

From Monday to Wednesday and on Sunday Anne and Liz attended twelve classes, staying for up to an hour each time, across a wide range of topics, and degrees including: Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Architectural Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Midwifery and Pharmacy. All JAEP students were engaged and contributed throughout the class. Their tutors spoke highly of them and were very appreciative of the financial support given by JAEP and our interest in taking part in their classes. We learnt that young people living in camps are highly motivated, scoring some of the highest undergraduate classifications.

Spend time with JAEP students in Dheisheh

We stayed in Ibdaa the Community Centrer within Dheisheh from Thursday to Monday. Ibdaa is the focal point for many activities including dancing, sport, education, embroidery co-operative and provides hostel accommodation. Ibdaa is where John stayed. We had many conversations with people who knew John, and want to tell us stories of him.

During our time in Ibdaa, twelve of our students gathered together. It was wonderful to that so many give up time on what is often their only day away from university/ placement. Pictures and videos at

All students talk of the unpredictability of their journey, especially during exam times, to university because of checkpoints. During our visit we travel to university on local Palestinian transport with students so we can experience this first hand.

Visit other local universities

On our previous visit in November 2018 we had initial meetings with two universities in Bethlehem: Dar Al Kalima University College of Arts and Culture and Bethlehem University. This year we had a follow up meetings at both.  We started sponsoring two students at Bethlehem University in September 2019 and plan to support students to study at Dar Al Kalmia from September 2021.

We flew home on March 3rd 2020 Two days later Bethlehem went into lockdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The resilience, dignity and determination of the families in Dheisheh to place their hopes for a future in educating their young people is inspirational. In September the country was locked down again.  The financial need of the people in the camp is even more acute, levels of Covid-19 are rising, there is no government health care or social services, employment is even more insecure. For example there are no overseas pilgrims.

Thank you for continuing to buy JAEP cards. For the sixth successive year we are selling Christmas cards. All the profits from the cards go to fund young people from Dheisheh. Last year we sold out! The profits funded a young person for a year of study. We are selling the cards in Norwich at the Original Norwich Charity Christmas Card Shop ( located in St Peter Mancroft Church, (opening on 20th October), and Norwich Cathedral shop, £5.00 for a pack of 10 cards. For 2020 there are eight different images. Three of the designs are shown below. If you would like to buy cards direct from us please email

(NB the card shop is temporaily closed due to Government Restrictions)

If you would like to book at talk please contact or 01603 767773

Madonna Christmas card 

alex tree no words