Sunday, May 17, 2015

Hello and farewell

It’s been an exciting week for Team Voice of the Youth here at Sharek. We’ve settled in to our new home and started enjoying the local café culture. Our project is the most open-ended and self-motivated of the projects ICS volunteers are undertaking here in Palestine, a fact that was initially extremely daunting as we had to work out what direction we wanted to take things. Finding some structure where there wasn’t any was our first challenge, but after a week of discussions, plan writing and research we’ve devised an action plan!

Our aim throughout this project is to promote Palestinian issues to the international community; the people who have a real chance and the power to change the situation in Palestine. Being here has made us all realise that something needs to be done to change the circumstances of the Palestinian people, and the most promising source of that change is pressure from the international community. That starts with us!

We have an ongoing project that the previous cohort of volunteers left for us and we really want to continue. The Voice of the Youth #PeopleofPalestine project involves introducing individuals from all over Palestine, along with a picture and quote, to help change negative perceptions of Palestinians abroad.

We are following new leads in writing articles about different aspects of the occupation and how they affect people’s lives. Issues surrounding access to education and minority rights will be the focus of several articles. We are also producing a #PeopleofPalestine series and accompanying article on The Freedom Theatre, in Jenin, which we visited. This inspirational project, which as survived against the odds, aims to promote non-violent cultural resistance against the occupation through theatre, film and photography. Their production is coming to the UK soon… keep your eyes peeled!

Another exciting project we have in the pipeline is the production of a video, to be played at a World Health Assembly youth summit for AFI Changemakers at the United Nations in Geneva, on issues concerning access to medicine in Palestine.

It is strange that as we just get started, one of our team is coming to the end of her time volunteering at Sharek. Our team-member Ruba is leaving us. As we take stock of our first impressions, I ask her what hers were when she first began here.
“My first impression was that it was confusing speaking English and understanding the UK volunteers and their British accents,” Ruba says, “but my English has definitely improved over the course of the project”
This is good news for me and my colleagues, as we’re really hoping that I’ll pick up some Arabic while I’m here.

What’s next for Ruba?

“After I finished my placement, I would like to get more training to get experience and then I hope to do a Masters degree in Management to get an administrative positon when I get a job. But unfortunately jobs in Materials Engineering are very few in Palestine and it’s difficult to get a job.”

We wish her the best of luck!

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