International Summer Work Camp in Palestine
[2nd – 20th of June 2007]
At Zajel Youth Exchange Program
Public Relations Department
An-Najah National University
“Step in the Right Direction”
“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
An-Najah National University is pleased to invite youth and adults up to 35, to take part in the “Step in the right direction” 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, “Step in the right direction”, 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 in 2001. Step in the right direction 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 of the the 3 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:
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. Step in the right direction 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.
This program was started in 2002 and is supervised by local volunteers who also give music lessons. International volunteers can work with children playing simple instruments, singing songs and listening to music. This is an opportunity for Children to learn songs both in Arabic and other languages. Also Volunteers could teach the kids their traditional dance, and the volunteers themselves would pick up some new Palestinian dance moves on the way!
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, 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.
Started in 2003, 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 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.
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 six years of conflict. For each of the last three years, we have created a new mural which is totally the creation of the international volunteers 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.
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!!
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.
[2nd – 20th of June 2007]
Fee: US$ 200
The fee includes:
· Food & Accommodation
· Local transportation
· Administrative cost
The vision of Step in the right direction 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 idea behind it is to provide youth from around the globe an opportunity to interact and learn from Palestinian society, creating a concrete impact. Bringing people together through work camps or study tours in a region of constant fighting and tension, Zajel Youth Exchange Program aims to create a dynamic learning environment for cultural understanding, experience sharing and partnership, striving to promote mutual understanding and respect among people. This program intends to establish a wide network of young people willing to make a difference and truly act as democratic leaders of change in Palestinian society.
The number of participants desired is about 20 international and 10 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.Sincerely yours,
Zajel Youth Exchange Program
Public Relations Department
An-Najah National University