Reflections of the International
Volunteers (Camp 2010)
"I have gone home a changed person"
The past 14 days have been some of the most fulfilling in
my life and trying to recap these in a few words will be almost
impossible. The experiences and knowledge that I have taken home
is priceless, I wish we had more time in Nablus. Meeting so many
young minds all open and interested has been very refreshing
especially seeing how strong and proud young Palestinians are of
their country, ready to defend and fight for equal rights and
freedom to bring an end to this occupation.
Working together with the children from the refugee camp
was amazing. These energetic children took part in our games and
ideas; and while we taught them English, they taught us a lesson
about life. Looking at the children in Askar, I found them to
have warm yet fearful smiles, deep dark brown eyes hiding away
the sorrow and distress, and most importantly, a sense of
hopefulness, especially in us to help them forget for a while
and make them happy. I felt a whole new world open up within me
when little 3 years old Hala would fall into my arms and smile.
This child has made me go home with a smile on my face, one I am
so grateful for.
These children are very special in the way they interact
among themselves- brothers walking hand in hand with their
sisters and taking care of one another. This is an image one
cannot find anywhere else. I thank Askar Development Centre for
giving these children hope for a better future and for giving
international volunteers the opportunity to learn life-altering
lessons from these children.
I have gone home a changed person: the knowledge I have
taken home about Palestine, the hospitable and friendly people
and the greater discovery of my Western lifestyle and myself.
Thank you Zajel you gave me a whole new perspective of life and
myself. Thanks to all the international and local volunteers for
the deep conversations and for all the great memories. I have
left Palestine with hope and with energy to support your
struggle- Palestine will be free!
As you already mentioned in your e-mail, two weeks is a
short period. A three week camp would give the opportunity to
achieve much more with the kids in Askar. In my opinion the
first week enabled mainly for getting used to the kids and
learning for the international volunteers, so that we can find
out which ways those kids learn. Only during the second week did
I have the idea that I was doing something that could have a
long-lasting effect. Teaching these kids for a longer time would
make this effect desirably stronger.
"Palestinians need their own state"
First of all I want to thank everyone for the wonderful
time I had in Palestine. It was a great work camp. Everyone was
so friendly and welcoming and willing to show us everything
either of Palestinian daily life or about the conflict. There
could not find things to criticise; however there are three
suggestions I want to make about what I think could be changed.
I want to say that this was one of the best experiences
of my life and I would do it again. Iím not that kind of person
who is easy to convince about political issues. but I believe
yours is truly justified and I want to continue in my country
with my limited means to convince people that Palestinians need
their own state and occupation and settlement need to stop.
Thank you so much!! Free Palestine.
"Palestine is a place filled with courageous People"
Itís so hard to say in such few words how much this
experience has had an impact on me as a person and on my whole
life and outlook. I didnít really know what to expect from the
Zajel programme, I just thought I would go visit some places and
work with some children and that would be it! What I didnít
expect to find is a place filled with courageous, warm and
dignified people who despite the struggles and injustices they
face every day still manage to be happy, positive and hopeful.
The children at Askar Refugee Camp were an inspiration, so full
of energy and so happy. As a mother it was heartbreaking to see
how little resources were available to the children and the
volunteers at Askar, especially children with special needs.
But the most amazing thing about Askar and the people there is
that despite their lack of resources and the obstacles they face
they donít let it hold them back. They donít complain about
what they donít have, they make the best of what they do have
and this clear in their smiles and the laughter you hear. As for
the rest of the programme there are no words to describe it, you
really have to experience it for yourself! I remember reading
at the very end of the Introduction Booklet ďwelcome homeĒ and
thinking ďwhat an odd thing to sayĒ. Imagine, after only two
weeks, I fell in love with a land and its people and I am proud
to call Palestine my home! I have made lifelong friends and
together we will stand with the Palestinian people and tell the
world about the things we have seen, until they listen.
Palestine and its people will stay in my heart forever. Thank
you to all my friends at Zajel and all my friends from all over
the globe for changing my life for the better, you will be
forever in my thoughts and in my heart.
Will/ United Kingdom:
"This trip has surely changed my life"
I have never met braver, kinder or friendlier people in
the world than those I met in Palestine, and I know I never will
anywhere else. The last two weeks have been the most incredible
and important of my life. Incredible in that I have seen and
heard things that I didn't think I would ever see happening, and
important because I know that this trip has surely changed my
life. I feel honoured to have spent time working alongside the
local and international volunteers and to have been allowed to
see a little of what life really means for the Palestinian
people. The Palestinians have a kind of passion that I have
never encountered before. They never give up, despite
everything, and that makes me hopeful for what the future will
I can't believe how much we managed to fit in such a
small amount of time, from working at the camp, to the lectures
to the trips and all of the other activities. I'm exhausted now,
but if I could do it all again, I would go back today. The day I
left Nablus I left some very dear friends and I will never
forget how kind and how much fun they all are.
I will now urge everyone I know to come to Zajel next
year and I can only assume that if they do, they will have the
best two weeks of their lives.
Joe/ United Kingdom:
I first came to Palestine a lost child searching for anything.
You were my teachers and for that I thank you so much. I try to
learn and keep learning from local volunteers and internationals
alike. I want to speak about the ways that Palestine has given
me the experiences to build a framework of morals that I can
live my life by, but now is not the time or the place. So let
us, our group who have glimpsed into the heart of Palestine,
learn from this great integrity, for with it the whole world can
become a better place. Thanks for all of you.
What I liked about the camp is that you guys cordially welcomed
us and treated us with hospitability. You are amazingly friendly
and the local volunteers helped me very enthusiastically. I felt
very glad to be with you. I liked the lectures, they were very
helpful and I appreciate the fact that you brought us excellent
lecturers who were highly-educated and knowledgeable.
- home -