[fyeg_gen-l] Fwd: Youth Exchange Invitation

FYEG FYEG at europarl.eu.int
Mon Dec 16 15:33:19 CET 2002

Dear Sir/Madam.

Greetings from Palestine
I am Alaa Yousef from Zajel Youth Exchange Program/Public Relations
An-Najah National University.Nablus, Palestine .

We would like to invite you to read the attached invitation of the
Voluntary Workcamps which we are organizing in July and August 2003.

We hope you or your institution`s students/members or friends would be
interested to join us in the
Reconstruction Project of the Youth Clubs in Nablus City/Palestine.

We would also like to ask you to pass this invitation to the interested
Dont hesitate to contact us for any question.

Thanks in advance

Reconstruction Project


A youth initiative for Palestine


ZAJEL Youth Exchange Program

Public Relations Department

An Najah University/ Nablus


Service Civil International/

German Branch


The Project statement

The joint initiative of ZAJEL Youth Exchange Program, An-Najah National University, Nablus and SCI-Germany is a pilot project, which takes place in form of two international Workcamps in the summer 2003.  


Manual work of international and local volunteers supports the reconstruction of the youth institutions in Nablus.  Common cultural activities with the youth of the clubs and centers attempt to create a platform for dialogue between the different cultures. 


The idea of this project results from a screening, which took place in Nablus in September 2002. Representatives of SCI-Germany and ZAJEL Youth Exchange Program consulted several youth institutions and identified reconstruction of the facilities and activities for emotional release and educational empowerment as the urgent need of the youth in Nablus. 


Rational/ Background

Youth in Palestine

Youth (below the age of 24 years) represent approximately 66% of the population in Palestine. However, they are a marginalized group. 


Deprived of the right to evolve democratically and culturally, and isolated through repeated closures of Palestinian areas, young people are left with little exposure to outside ideas, customs and cultures. Only few resources like clubs and associations are available to them to engage in stimulating and enriching extra-curricular activities. The youth in Palestine lacks constructive and productive outlets through which they can use their time to their own and others' benefit. 


This increases the chances of becoming involved in dangerous activities or increasing their frustration, making them more susceptible to join extremist groups.


Occupation and the 2nd Intifada

The Israeli Occupation has had a negative and serious effect on Palestinian youth culture.


First and foremost, the occupation implies insecurity and threats the lives of youth. Soldiers have killed and injured mostly young Palestinian males. Since September 2000, approximately 22% of those killed have been children, aged 18 years or under. Furthermore, of those injured in the West Bank, 36% are children, and in the Gaza Strip 20% of the injured are under the age of 18 .


Furthermore the Occupation has stifled independence and freedom of young people, which limits their creativity and ability to create better futures. It hampers their ability to develop a positive self-identity, and tries to dismantle Palestinian culture. 


Youth institutions

During the current emergency, in which villages and towns are isolated from each other for long periods it is of vital importance that youth have a forum for communication. Youth institutions help young people feel less isolated and more unified. Creating connections among Palestinian youth also encourages them to learn more about the country, to learn about its people, places and organizations, thereby promoting volunteerism and responsibility for their country and fellow citizens. It also broadens their horizons by exposing them to different career opportunities.


The centers and clubs provide youth with opportunities to acquire skills such as basic life-skills, computer and Internet skills, and education. They also learn about concepts such as leadership and democracy. The activities of the institutions also promote emotional release. Here, youth is offered a third way to learn and to release, in order to express their feelings, needs and ideas.


Youth institutions like clubs and centers give young people a place to socialize, to receive training, and to experience integration. In addition they promote equality and democratic values. Youth also connect with university students who volunteer at the center, who provide them with positive role models of educated young adults who are working toward the advancement of themselves and their country. Such facilities offer them the chance to connect with their peers, learn about themselves, have more control over themselves and their communities, and discover new options in all areas.


Youth Institutions in Nablus/ West Bank

In the Old City of Nablus there were 13 youth institutions: either youth clubs, forum centers or organizations. Now only 5 of them are operating. This is not enough for the youth under curfew. Despair and hopelessness are growing. The youth needs physical and emotional support in order to reconstruct their lives. 


The IBAL Sports Club is one of the oldest youth centers in the Old City of Nablus. Since 1959 the club has offered various activities, especially during school vacations. Young men and women participated in sports like football, basketball, table tennis, volleyball, handball and body-building. The members of the club also provided training on computer skills and lessons in foreign languages. Furthermore, the club involved young men and women in social and cultural activities such as small festivals with actors.


Approximately 1000 young men are members of the sports club. They are youth leaders or youth trainers over the age of 18 or participants from the age of 6. The club is composed of approximately 60 per cent pupils and students (including graduated students) and 20 to 30 per cent workers. Around 60 to 70 per cent of the young workers are unemployed. 


During the invasion in April 2002 the facilities of the club were completely demolished. The renovation attempt failed because of a lack of financial support. Since then the sports club has not been able to run any of its activities in their rooms. Nonetheless, some members have continued for example the table tennis team, which plays daily in a private place or the disabled who train in a school. 


We have chosen workcamps as the tool to implement the identified objectives. A workcamp is considered to be a place where people of all races, ideologies, and nationalities live and work together on a project organized by a local sponsor for two or three weeks. Workcamps generally have 10 to 20 participants, who volunteer, socialize and work with the local people. 


The message of workcamps is to promote equality in living (all work camp members live by local standards) and internal decision making, problem solving, developing a sense of group identity and seeking to increase tolerance.


The vision

The vision of SHABAB reconstruction project is to contribute to the sustainable development of the Palestinian youth by addressing their needs.


Therefore, we, ZAJEL Youth Exchange Program and SCI-Germany, work united:


-to assist in the reconstruction of youth institutions through joint voluntary work of Palestinian and international youth;


-to initiate intercultural learning between the different cultures in order to promote understanding and respect between the youth of the Oriental and Occidental culture;


-to dismantle and minimize prejudices and misperceptions about the different cultures through workshops on history, society, religion and cultural activities; 


-to influence the local community in its most diverse spheres, such as environmental protection, education, health, and promotion of peace;


-to raise awareness about the situation of Palestinian youth and their environment;



The project aims to contribute to the reconstruction of youth in Nablus by organizing international Workcamps in summer 2003.


Therefore the joint initiative of the ZAJEL Youth Exchange Program and SCI-Germany wants to achieve: 


A) For the Palestinian youth and their organizations:


-to support the reconstruction of youth institutions and their facilities for education, skills development and emotional release;


-to empower Palestinian youth with open mind, respect and mutual understanding for the Western society and their habits by experiencing intercultural exchange;


B) For the international volunteers:


-to participate actively in the reconstruction of youth institutions assisting Palestinian volunteers and the local community;


-to empower the youth from the Western countries with open mind, mutual understanding and respect for the Palestinian youth and their Oriental society by experiencing intercultural exchange;


 C) For the youth institution:


-to assist in the reconstruction of the youth institutions;


-to provide the youth institutions with more possible activities run by a group of local and international volunteers;


-to experience intercultural learning in their local community.


The project partners

Keeping in mind the needs of the youth and the common objectives of ZAJEL Youth Exchange Program and SCI-Germany, we work in united action for the empowerment of the youth, both local and international.


This initiative of the ZAJEL Youth Exchange Program and SCI-Germany includes cooperation with the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees (UPMRC) and the local IBAL Sports Club, which provide the necessary facilities.


Project description

The overall aim of the proposed project is to support the development of youth in Palestine. 

Delineated within this broader goal are two specific objectives: 1) to reconstruct the IBAL Sports Club in the Old City of Nablus; and 2) to empower local and international youth to respect and understand different cultural backgrounds.


1. Target group


Therefore, ZAJEL Youth Exchange Program and SCI-Germany identified the following target groups for the SHABAB project:


A) For the Workcamps


Young men and women between the ages of 18 and 30 from different social backgrounds: students, workers and unemployed, from the local community of Nablus and from abroad participate in the Workcamps. This includes a balanced distribution of gender. 


B) For the activities of the Workcamps


The activities of the Workcamps target children and young people between the ages of 6 to 26.


2. Description of the Working place 


The IBAL Sports Club is located in the Old City of Nablus. During the invasion in April 2002 the Israeli military entered several times the club. They were trying to make a path to the neighbor building. Thus, most of the walls and the floor were demolished. Windows were destroyed, electricity and water were cut off, stairs and doors were damaged. Fortunately, most of the equipment was removed before the invasion. Only the abandoned equipment was destroyed .


3. Project activities


To continue with the renovation endeavors, ZAJEL Youth Exchange Program and SCI-Germany organize two international Workcamps for the following dates:


Workcamp 1: 10th -31st July 2003 

Workcamp 2: 10th -31st August 2003 


The number of participants desired is about 30: 15 international and 15 local volunteers.  We intend to have gender balanced workcamps. Two specially trained volunteers; a female international and one male local volunteer function as Campleaders. 


The Workcamps consist of a working part and a study part, as well as leisure time. 


A) Working part


For the working part the project partners have decided to reconstruct the rooms of IBAL Sports Club in the Old City of Nablus. 


In the first step of the renovations for the volunteers is to clean the rooms. Professional workers assist the volunteers preparing the floor and the walls. Afterwards the walls are painted. The work is considered for 4 to 5 hours, 5 days a week.   


The final decision about the working place is made in consideration of the current situation in Nablus. Therefore we, the project partners, have already developed an alternative plan for the working place. 


B) Studying part


The studying part of the Workcamps is held in form of workshops and other cultural activities. The workshops are closely related to the interests and needs of the local youth of the youth institutions. 


There are lectures about history, religion, gender roles, refugees, and youth itself which provide an insight into the different cultures. To create interaction the workshops include various role plays.

Furthermore, the group visits local community associations for women and youth, cultural clubs and forums to have some activities with them. 


During the weekends the activities of Workcamps focus on cultural activities. On the first weekend the program for the group consists of trips to historical places in the surroundings of Nablus. On the second weekend the families of the local volunteers host the international volunteers. 


The expected outcome of the workshops and the renovation work itself is a public event in form of a street festival with an art gallery and sports activities. The volunteers and the locals prepare these cultural activities during the Workcamps. 





Volunteers have to afford their flights tickets, and we are working hard to get some donations for their accommodation, which is $150.


Application Form

I want to apply for the Workcamp: (please mark)

Zajel Workcamp 12:              10-31 July 2003          
Zajel Workcamp 13:             10-31 August 2003     

 Name      ____________________________________________

 Address   ____________________________________________

 Telephone:  ____________________


 E-mail  ______________________________________________


 Date of Birth ___________

 Sex  ______________________


 Emergency Contact



 Telephone: (day):______________________(night________________


 What is your motivation for participating in this work camp? ____________________________________________________

________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ _________________________________________________ 



 Remarks on Health /Special Needs /Diet




 Have you ever done voluntary work before? (if yes ,please explain)








SAFETY and Other Issues


As a foreigner with a passport, passing though Jordan's Amman, or Ben Gurion, Tel Aviv Airports, all visitors may be questioned minimally and allowed to pass


But because of the current situation in the region, we recommend that you fly into Jordan's Amman Airport. There you will be met at the airport by a representative of An-Najah's Liason office in Jordan where you will be accompanied to the Israeli border, for you to continue your destination.


In this way, you avoid having to go to either Jerusalem or Tel Aviv.  Travelling cost and time are similar to arriving in Ben Gurion Airport, but the Jordan route is safer since you will pass through the Jordan Valley where there are fewer settlements, with less potential for contact with Israelis.


Health, safety, and security risks are an unavoidable part of life and of Volunteer service.


Service does involve certain risks, including road accidents, natural disasters, crime and civil unrest.


Everything possible is being done to eliminate all risks associated with Volunteers' service overseas.

This is surely an exciting time, and we want your expectations to be as realistic as possible. 


However, there are many variables beyond the agency's control that impact Volunteers' welfare


Being a Volunteer requires changes in lifestyle preferences and habits in deference to host country cultural expectations. Choices in dress, living arrangements, means of travel, entertainment, and companionship may have a direct impact on how Volunteers are viewed, and thus treated. Navigating the differences in gender relations may be one of the most sensitive and difficult lessons to learn. Build respectful relationships with those in the local community. 

Safety is, for the most part, best assured when they are well integrated into the local community, valued and protected as extended family members, and viewed as contributors to development.


Our Policy requires that Volunteers report their proposed plans if they travel away from any City or their place of residence.


Access to medical, banking, postal, and other essential services, communication, transportation, and local markets, living arrangements are available.


It is necessary to ensure that Volunteers relations can be contacted in case of emergency.


If a situation arises that poses a potential threat to Volunteers, Zajel will immediately assess the nature of the threat and respond in a manner that ensures the Volunteers' safety and well being.


 Volunteers will have full access in receiving phone calls immediately from relatives, overseas. 


Every staff member at Youth Exchange is committed to providing Volunteers with the support they need to successfully meet the challenges they will face to have a safe, healthy, and productive service. 


We hope that the information provided here will help you gain a sense of these challenges, the changes in attitude and lifestyle that may be required to adapt to a new environment, and the level of support that can be expected from Youth Exchange, local colleagues, and host communities. 


The success of each Youth Exchange Volunteer is our goal. We rely on Volunteers to exercise personal responsibility, demonstrate a keen awareness of the world around them, and a willingness to adjust their behavior in a manner that will enhance their safety and well-being. In the end their efforts will be rewarded with an incredible, unique experience. 


We will be working in the Old City of Nablus, where people used to move freely in most times, even hard times, so, you will be far away from the hot zones. We will also cooperate with our project partners; the UPMRC, United Palestinian Medical Relief Committees, which normally move freely during hard times, which will help us to run our workcamps in most times.












Aleksandar Jovanovic
Office Coordinator and Administrator
Federation of Young European Greens (FYEG)
European Parliament Spinelli 8G138
Rue Wiertz
B-1047 Brussels, Belgium
tel:+32 2 284 24 40
fax:+32 2 284 92 73
fyeg at europarl.eu.int and visit www.fyeg.org
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