International Summer Work Camp in Palestine
14th – 30th June 2008
At Zajel Youth Exchange Program
Public Relations Department
An-Najah National University
“Hope For Tomorrow”
“Recognizing that the child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding”
UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
Zajel Youth Exchange of the Public Relations Department at An-Najah National University is pleased to invite youth and adults up to 35, to take part in the “Hope for Tomorrow” summer work camp. This project has been designed to provide international students and professionals the opportunity to meet and discuss the Middle East conflict, share ideas, enhance practical skills, foster relationships, and give assistance to members of the Palestinian community.
The international summer work camp, “Hope for Tomorrow”, will bring together 25 young people from around the world who are interested in helping create a better world. We are specifically targeting people who are working with organizations led by young people that address humanitarian issues and social justice. We strongly encourage highly motivated and serious young men and women to apply.
Zajel is a youth exchange programme that was established by An-Najah National University in 2001. Hope for Tomorrow is one of Zajel’s promising projects and will offer the opportunity for international volunteers to work with, and provide support for Palestinian refugee children, and to experience life in one of the Palestinian refugee camps, which unfortunately are home to many people in Palestine.
Zajel International Voluntary Work Camp
The work camp will be a challenging three weeks. The participants will have the chance to discuss relevant issues in the world and particularly Palestine. They will visit historically significant sites and refugee camps, and create a positive and real impact in our community through a variety of activities related to Social Youth Development. Living and working together in Nablus, the participants will gain a better understanding of themselves, Palestinian social/political questions, the world around them and the continuing Palestinian struggle for freedom.
The work camp will be a place where people of all races, ideologies, and nationalities live and work together on a project organized by a local host for around three weeks. The work camp will consist of 25 participants, who volunteer, socialize and work with the local people. The international summer work camp is run by young people for young people.
The program consists of:
There are a number of different forms of work that volunteers can participate in, which will be based in one of the refugee camps in the city of Nablus. The work program has been designed to best suit the needs of the people (Kids) living in such hard places, as well as to effectively utilise the talents we anticipate volunteers will bring from abroad. The work will be divided into the following sections:
Counselling and Psychological Support:
The Counselling and Psychological Support Program organizes sessions for both groups and individuals to provide support and counselling for the refugee community. The occupation and the frequent military invasions into the camp have caused tremendous psychological damage, especially for young children. Hope for Tomorrow will assist this program in a number of ways, performing roles that do not require specialist training. This will include organizing and supervising educational and recreational activities for children to help them relax. It is of fundamental importance to give the children some time to act, think, play and feel like children should. Any recommended activity that might be useful in this regard is more than welcomed. We hope the international volunteers will initiate and conduct new methods that will assist the local volunteers in running this project.
Providing assistance in counseling and psychological support is one of the most important aspects of the work camp and a great deal of attention has been put into this area. Although volunteers will have a professional working with them all the time, they must nevertheless be prepared. This part of the work camp promotes self-confidence and psychological release whereby group activities and games involving cooperation, music and drawing are often used to achieve this. International volunteers often find these activities the most enjoyable.
We encourage some of the more athletic volunteers to help supervise sporting activities at the camp for children aged 10 – 12 years old. Normally the children play games such as football, volleyball and martial arts. International volunteers will help in organizing matches and also directly participate. What more can we say, sport is what kids love and often do best. Games can vary from football which is very popular, to rope jumping or even tug-o-war. For this part of the work camp don’t worry about supplies. Just pack up your gym shoes, cap and hope you’ll keep up.
A number of workshops have been organized to allow children to develop their creative talents through art. The arts program involves teaching kids how to make art objects out of common items like bottles, rocks and plastic glasses. Other activities run by volunteers have included face painting, drawing, and painting on rocks, sculpture, hand prints and lots more.
The idea behind this project is to let kids have fun and be creative. Galleries were organized to encourage the children to exhibit their work. International volunteers will work alongside the local volunteers to prepare the galleries for the end of the work camp. We encourage volunteers to think ahead of time about activities that would be both useful and fun for the local youth.
The drama workshop has been shown to be an effective tool for encouraging self-expression and psychological release in which the supervisors help the children explore their creativity and interests.
Drama helps build self-confidence and develops children’s communication to better enable them to interact with their social environment. It provides them with a greater feeling of personal security, reveals a variety of talents and makes them more creative in their everyday life. International volunteers are encouraged to share their skills in the production of plays with local young boys and girls. Bring with you short stories that could be performed as plays, and that can be understood by people who have limited English.
Working with the Disabled:
Working with disabled kids and organizing activities for them is one of the most vital programmes for children who are in need of special consideration and treatment. International volunteers can participate in painting, dancing, playing instruments and encouraging kids to smile. Any suggestions for games are welcomed. Due to the special circumstances of the disabled youth we both encourage and are in need of volunteers with specialized experience when it comes to working with the disabled.
We will have a special corner dedicated to creating murals and wall paintings in order to revitalize the city, which has become dominated by destruction and an atmosphere of death after seven years of conflict. For each of the last three years, we have created a new mural which is totally the creation of the international volunteer’s ideas and their brainstorming. Kids often help and come up with many good ideas that are often added to the “masterpiece,” the mural brings joy to the kids and takes their minds off the current situation that surrounds them. These murals are the result of team work and two things are certain when it comes to murals, they never end up the way they were originally intended and you always end up with a very colorful shirt!
The study part of the work camp takes the form of study tours and other cultural activities. The workshops are closely related to the interests and needs of the local youth. There are lectures on history, religion, gender roles, refugees, and youth itself, which provide an insight into different cultures. To create interaction amongst peers, the workshops include role-play and other similar activities. International volunteers will visit local community associations for women and youth, cultural clubs and forums as well as share activities with them. Traditional Palestinian dance (Dabka) is very popular amongst the youth. We encourage the international volunteers to participate with the youth as well as give lessons on other traditional forms of dance related to their home countries. We also encourage the local volunteers to assist the youth by helping bridge the language gap between the participants.
During the weekends the activities of the work camp will focus on cultural matters. The group will visit places of historical interest in the Nablus area. The volunteers and the locals will prepare for these activities during the work camp.
Daily entertainment activities are important for the recreation of the volunteers. These are important because they help the volunteers to relax and prepare for the following days work. Also, Palestine is more than just a conflict zone, and it is important for the volunteers to see the beautiful and fun sides of Palestinian culture. The entertainment varies from night to night. It will include visits to coffee shops, the Turkish bath, oriental nights, visits to local families, and games. Your ideas are welcome!!
Goals of Zajel:
1. International and Local Understanding – To develop awareness of issues and problems facing the Palestinian youth, and to enlarge and clarify their perspective of themselves as active participants in Palestinian history and culture.
2. Solidarity – Local Palestinians are in serious need to be encouraged and cheered up by the international volunteers who will come and take part in shaping the present and the promising future.
3. Cultural Understanding – To develop individuals with a broader comprehension of the differences amongst cultures and to empower them to accept and deal with diverse opinions, customs and religions.
4. Social Development – To impact our local community in its most diverse spheres such as education, health, and peace promotion.
14th – 30th June 2008
Fee: US$ 200
The fee includes:
· Food & Accommodation
· Local transportation
· Administrative cost
The vision of Hope for Tomorrow is to help improve the lives of children in the Askar refugee camp by organizing and supervising activities that are both educational and recreational. This is especially important during the summer months when they are not in school, and have little to do and have no other outlets for their time and energy. We try to provide as many positive options as we can in a very negative situation.
Zajel Youth Exchange Program (Zajel means “dove”) is an official educational program at the Public Relations Department of An-Najah National University in Nablus, Palestine
An-Najah National University is one of the universities in Palestine, founded in 1977. Students come from different regions of Palestine, in search of knowledge and education. Furthermore, the university focuses on the active and responsible participation of the students in community life. All students are strongly encouraged to perform volunteer work for the university or for the community.
Zajel Youth Exchange Program offers the opportunity for local students to participate in work camps and other international exchanges in order to experience intercultural dialogue.
The number of participants desired is about 25 international and 15 local volunteers. We intend to have a gender-balanced work camp. One well trained local volunteer will take the responsibility of leading the work camp.
Don’t hesitate to contact us for the info sheet and the application form.
Alaa Yousef/ Coordinator
Zajel Youth Exchange Program
Public Relations Department
An-Najah National University
Placement@najah.edu and firstname.lastname@example.org