Zajel Organizes Study Visit for Irish Delegation 



In cooperation with the Alternative Tourism Group, An Irish delegation representing the Irish civil associations and activists on human rights and academics visited the An-Najah National University and toured its campus.


A presentation welcoming the thirty member delegation was given by Ala Yousef, the Coordinator of Zajel Youth Exchange Program of the Public Relations Department, who briefed guests with the academic process, students' issues and concerns, soft loans, the construction of the new campus. He then spoke about the philosophy of Zajel by briefing his guests on the Zajel projects for the next summer and current projects to that aims to broaden the intercultural dialogue between the Palestinian students and their counterparts abroad.


Volunteers of Zajel briefed the Irish guests on the Right to Education Campaign and their efforts in documenting the violations to their right in free education that has been severely affected by the seven year imposed siege.



A tour was organized to the city of Nablus, its cultural and architectural sites, its Turkish Baths, and soap factories. Haj Muaz Nabulsi, Owner of Nabulsi Soap Factory and Former Chamber of Commerce Director made a presentation on the soap industry in Nablus about the importance of this industry over the ages and explained the problems facing its industry. He mentioned that there were more than forty soap factories in the past while the number of those functioning at the moment is less than five, and the impact of the siege on the exporting of the newly produced soap from abroad on this industry that left hundreds of workers unemployed.

Guests were welcomed by inhabitants of the old city of Nablus who invited the delegation to their homes and explained to them the daily life they went through under curfew and invasions over the past few years. Interviews were also done with children of the old city who spoke about their experience of losing friends as a result of the occupation.


Another tour was paid to the Yafa Culture Center in the Balata Refugee Camp, where Mr. Fayez Arafat from the Center briefed his guests on the social, health and educational situation of the refugees who are living in this overcrowded refugee camp that hosts twenty-three thousand refugees. He also spoke about the refugee problem that should be solved in any future negotiations mentioning that the refugee camps are the symbol of the Palestine Question that keeps reminding the international community with the plight of the Palestinian people. The Irish delegation met some eyewitnesses of Nakba 1948 and got their testimonies on their deportation from Yafa City.



Muhammad Jaradat, Student at the Faculty of Arts said: “I learned from this visit exactly as the Irish learned and it is useful to learn more about our culture and history. It is my first time visiting a refugee camp here even though I am living in the West Bank. I learned more about the Refugee Question, and I do believe that every student should visit the Palestinian refugee camps to get more awareness of the roots of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict”.


Jihan Shirbini, An active volunteer of Zajel said: “Raising awareness about the Palestinian cause and culture is the main aim of Zajel Program. Therefore, I do believe that through it, we can make a difference and clear the distorted image about us. I hope that those internationals will continue writing about what they saw and felt in here as they are our voice in there and they can get to where we can’t. We count on them to have our voice heard”.