Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Project Hope 14.12.10

Well this is the last week of lessons here in Nablus with the wonderful Project Hope! If there is anyone reading this who is thinking of coming to volunteer here, I would highly recommend this NGO. Whether you can teach English, French, German, Spanish, Art, Photography, Music or anything else: they will find willing students for you.

Over the last few weeks we've been putting together a structured English Language Course which will begin in January 2011 (insh'allah!). The Teachers and Students will be working from the Oxford University Press textbooks 'New Headway', and I'm sure it will be a huge success: I've rarely met more enthusiastic students.

Other new ideas for the New Year include an internet cafe, including blog classes, with 'women only' times. This will be the only venue in Nablus to offer such a facility, and I think it's very forward-thinking of Project Hope. They also help people with form-filling, with applications, to try to find grants or jobs. It really is a multi-faceted organisation.

Last week I braved a torrential downpour to head out by taxi to one of the Refugee Camps to give a lesson in a Community Centre. They were playing table-tennis when I arrived, and I cannot tell you how grateful they were that I had made the effort for them. We had a wonderful lesson, followed by an invite into the Coordinator's room for a cup of juice and biscuit, and a translation of the papers from Arabic into English for me. These are all young people, mostly boys/men, but they are polite, respectful and keenly interested in the outside world.

This morning it was back to the large Islamic School for a lesson with the English Teachers of the school. We talked about the Palestinian diaspora, and apparently there are 5 million Palestinians here in Palestine, with another 5 million in other countries, mostly Jordan and Lebanon. This began in 1947, creating political refugees, continued in 1967, and remains the case to this day: displaced persons moving or being forcibly moved from their homelands, who then eventually settle elsewhere and have families. The original 'temporary' solution drags on for years, and people get on with their lives (I have found them to be remarkably resilient, but then you'd have to be). The problem then becomes compounded as the children are born in the new land, and grow up there, knowing nothing of the homes of their parents.

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