Zajel Closes the Activities of the International Voluntary Work Camp.

Project Together

1st-21st 2004

Zajel Youth Exchange Program of the Public Relation Department at An-Najah National University and in corporation with Askar Center for Social Development ended the activities of the international voluntary wok camp of the summer 2004 that lasted for three weeks. The International volunteers along with the local volunteers did many activities in order to help the refugees children who are suffering from sever hard conditions because of the siege imposed on them since four years. The activities included programs for emotional depriving for the children of special needs and children suffering from brain mental retarded, and programs to help handicapped children to socialize and merge with normal kids. The volunteers worked in many corners such as music, drama, hand crafts, sports, counseling and dancing.

The volunteers who are coming from USA, Europe, Latin America and South East Asia, participated in workshops and educational lectures about different Middle East topics, such as Palestine history, refugees, Palestinian women, and Palestinian literature. In addition they watched translated documentary films like "exile dreams" for the Palestinian director May Al-Masry, and "People of the world, where are you?", and other films about the apartheid wall and the struggle of the Palestinian women.

A long tour to the old city of Nablus took place also. Volunteers had the opportunity to enter destroyed homes, inflicted by the Israeli invasions. They could see the destruction of some houses, burnt by the Israeli occupation forces. The group could also meet the eyewitnesses of the old city who told their stories. The tour also included visits to the traditional sites of the old city such as the Turkish bath.

An interesting tour to the Refugee Camp of Askar was organized. Both international and local volunteers visited the refugees in their units, interviewing them, and listening to their experience of the homelessness and the hard conditions they have gone through over the past half century. There was discussion about the refugee’s right of return and the implementation of the international community decisions regarding refugees. The local volunteers themselves got great experience from the study visit to the refugee camp.

The volunteers were introduced to the economical and manufacturing conditions in Palestine during a tour in the manufacturing area, and the volunteers visited the new campus of An-Najah National University and saw the development that the university had achieved during its educational process. They also visited Hisham Hijawy collage of Technology.

The volunteers had a meeting with Dr. Rami Hamdallah,  President of An-Najah National University who explained the academic developments and the university's efforts to open new sections and departments which serve the needs of the local society specially in applied sciences and IT. The volunteers had a chance to meet the Governor of Nablus, Mahmoud Al-Alul who talked about the situation in Nablus and the efforts done by the governorate to reduce the citizens' suffering.   

A friendly football match between the university's team and the international volunteers' team was held by the Student Affairs Deanship in corporation with the Youth Exchange Program, the university's team was the dominant in the first match, and its attacking players showed a very good talent, but in the second match, the volunteers' team had successive 5 goals, the game ended by the university's team winning 7 to 5. The volunteers' team showed their admiration by the high athletic qualifications and good performance of the university's team. Mr.Bilal Salameh, the Dean of the Student affairs, gave the university plague for the volunteers' team and appreciation letters for all the players.

A workshop on Christianity took place at the Catholic Church in Nablus, George Saadeh, the Priest of the Catholic Church in Nablus spoke about the tolerance between Muslims, Samaritans and Christians of Nablus who have lived over the past hundreds years in tolerance and coexistence. He also mentioned that all three monotheistic religions are based on the word of God and have the same goals but that it is politics which emphasize the differences.

The volunteers visited President Arafat, and they showed their solidarity and sympathy with the president and the Palestinian people, and they condemned the siege policy imposed on the president and on all the Palestinian cities. In his turn the president thanked the volunteers for their efforts in helping the Palestinian society and in exposing the Israeli actions done against the Palestinians.