Local Volunteersí Reflections
The reflections of the local volunteers who organized the "Defy the Present" exchange program from 02-16 August 2015
It was an amazing experience to be the camp leader. We faced a lot of challenges this year, but with a strong team and committed international volunteers we overcame them. Zajel taught us that if you never try, you never know.
I learned how to cope with failures and to be patient when managing a team. To compromise and to think of alternatives in the face of a problem is a must. All of these experiences allowed me to reflect and to gain experience in managing and organizing a team. Most importantly, the cultural diversity among the volunteers allowed us to engage in activities with an open mind. This was truly a vital aspect of the Zajel camp.
I am really happy to see a deep awareness and understanding of the Palestinian cause amongst the international volunteers, as well as the problems it still faces. These international volunteers will be the ambassadors for the Palestinian cause in their respective countries when they return, making a constructive and lasting change for the future of Palestine.
I have made many new friends in just a few weeks and it’s all thanks to Zajel.
The programme has taught me how to work under pressure and certain time constraints. Even though I’m from Nablus city, Zajel gave me the chance to visit historical and religious sites in and around the city that I had never seen before.
I saw the great ruins of Sabastiya village and Al-Kayed Palace and learned how each stone has a story behind it.
Zajel gave me the opportunity to meet youth from numerous different cultures and countries. I got the chance to improve my leadership and collaboration skills alongside the other volunteers. Zajel has made a footprint in my life. Leaving the program is heart-breaking for me.
I worked with a group of people with varying points of view about the camp and this initially confused me. I learned to take it on as a challenge, however, and with time it became a very interesting experience that taught me a lot. One of my objectives was to organize the attendance of the local volunteers and schedule the activities for the camp. I'm very happy to know that people love Palestine. Not only do they love it, but they are also determined to help the people of Palestine and know more about their lives and habits.
It was wonderful to see the local and international volunteers cooperating and learning from each other. Each of the international volunteers had her or his own and unique way of teaching and conveying interesting information to their students. This was a great way to provide a range of topics and learning techniques to our students. The work carried out by the Coordinator of Zajel and his team of volunteers made the programme go incredibly smoothly and successfully.
Rawan Saqf al Hait
Volunteer both for the benefit of others and yourself; this sentence summarises Zajel perfectly. I have volunteered in many organizations; however, working in Zajel has been the most meaningful. I volunteered in the Japanese course to help our sensei Atsuku and to translate the lessons into Arabic for students. My love of Japanese culture and language was my motivation to volunteer for this part of the Zajel cultural exchange. After one week, I discovered how all of the Zajel coordinators collaborated like a close-knit family. This motivated me to be more active within the group and to take on further responsibilities. Endings often lead to new beginnings, and the end of this camp will be the beginning of many more volunteer opportunities for me.
Illham Haja Ali
With the Zajel programme I found myself constantly asking “what’s next?” From the first day I met them, the Zajel volunteers always kept me motivated and I found that each of them had a great desire for learning about everything concerning Palestine and its people. The international volunteers put a lot of effort into each workshop.
Throughout the camp I learned how to better schedule my day, taking advantage of every minute and not to waste it. I know that Zajel is really special programme and it will no doubt lead our university to amazing new things in the future thanks to the efforts of all of our volunteers.