Assessing Refugee Needs to Improve Our Programs
As summer is heating up, so are TYO's efforts to create the best possible programs for disadvantaged women and children in Nablus. One way we are achieving this goal is through our commitment to identifying and meeting the needs of the community.
“I can clearly see in my students’ work the need to create a safe, welcoming space in my classroom where students feel that they can have fun learning and thinking critically about the world around them through artwork. Insh’Allah, I can make this happen.” -Hannah, TYO Intern, Nablus
Last week TYO released its Community Needs Assessment, a yearlong study to assess the needs of the four refugee camps and other underprivileged communities TYO serves. Partners and representatives from the public and private sectors were invited to share and discuss the results, which were compiled from over 400 individuals using diverse methods. These results give TYO teachers and interns insight into the needs of different age groups, such as room to play or better computer literacy, to help them tailor their programs and have an even greater impact. This assessment will help TYO improve its programming, but more importantly, it illustrated the impact we are already having. Our core child program gives children the creative play space they need, and our women’s group programs offer both respite and opportunity for moms. Interns also remarked that the findings emphasized the link between mothers and children, reinforcing the power of TYO’s multigenerational strategy and the impact that its programs have on families throughout Nablus. With your continued support, we can continue to bring these families the best educational and recreational programming to keep them happy and healthy.
Welcome New Interns!
As TYO’s students are getting into the full swing of summer, so are our newest interns! Meet Sarah, Hilary, Jay, Mitch, Mary-Jo, and Hannah! From California to Connecticut, they’ve come from across the country to improve the lives of women and children in Palestine’s most disadvantaged areas. After just a few short weeks, they’ve been adjusting to life in Palestine, studying and integrating our Community Needs Assessment, and realizing first-hand the value of the resources TYO provides. With backgrounds and interests as diverse as the women and children they’ll be working with, we’re sure they’ll be making amazing contributions both to TYO and to the Nablus community. We also recently welcomed three new interns at our administrative headquarters in Washington, DC: Elly, Maddie, and Rachel. Welcome everyone!
What’s the best way to make a child smile this spring? By making a mother’s day on Mother’s Day! Spread the joys of spring by making a contribution to support disadvantaged children in Palestine and enterprising mothers in Lebanon. With generous donations of $50 and above, you will receive a note card set of five cards featuring gorgeous watercolor scenes from historic Jerusalem!
As quickly as it came, the spring semester is just about behind us. As we prepare for the oncoming heat waves of summer, TYO takes a moment to reflect on the joys of spring in Nablus.
“My students face barriers that seem insurmountable; they have encountered violence, hunger, an indifferent education, and more. They carry burdens too heavy for adults, while they are still children. As such, my moments of greatest triumph this session have been witnessing my students reclaim childhood.” – Karen Campion, TYO Fellow, Princeton University International ReachOut Fellow
Nothing says spring has sprung like a trip to Beita Amusement Park just outside of Nablus! This year, students celebrated the last day of the spring session with a visit to a fun-filled playland on the outskirts of Nablus. For many, this was their first trip to an amusement park and they were thrilled! It’s not hard to imagine the joy in their eyes as they raced to the locomotives and Ferris wheels and enjoyed frolicking in the fresh mountain air. Trips like this visit to Beita help incentivize attendance and encourage participation by all children in the Core Child Program.
The kids got active and became activists this spring, racing and recycling for TYO’s Racing the Planet challenge! Beginning on May 12, 2012, ultramarathon runner Usama Malik will race a staggering 156-miles across Jordan to raise $50K in 50 Days in support of TYO’s Core Child Program. To get students involved, this spring, TYO held a series of Racing the Planet games aimed at exposing children to physical activity and environment-friendly initiatives in Nablus. From three-legged races to balloon-popping fun, children learned the value of sportsmanship and teamwork with a dose of competition during the games. At the end of the day, every team was a winning team from “best spirit” to “most enthusiastic” to “fastest racers.” Students also learned how to turn trash to treasures, working on ten different projects designed to create things such as flowers from plastic bags, pencil holders from cans, candleholders from milk cartons, and many more. Students practiced resourcefulness, critical thinking, creativity, and patience. Check out more on the $50K in 50 Days campaign challenge with Usama’s video-blogging!
True to spring, blossoms bloom and seeds are planted as TYO bids farewell to spring interns and welcomes new! As all good things come to a close, TYO’s interns, participants in the International Internship Program, wrapped up their time in Nablus with heartfelt reflections. See what they had to say! And don’t forget to check out what TYO’s newest intern Asma had to say about her arrival in Nablus. Asma is a Palestinian-American earning her Masters in Public Policy at Harvard University. Asma will be teaching an Oral History class to 10-12 year olds as well as a Professional Competency class to students at An-Najah University.
“This is what makes TYO special – its unique position to help children discover their strengths and passions.” - Asma, TYO intern, Masters in Public Policy, Harvard University
This spring, your contribution will go a long way towards brightening the smiles of Palestinian child refugees and Lebanese women entrepreneurs in need. TYO thanks you for your support!
Today, March 14th, 2012, GlobalGiving will match one donation per donor at 30% on behalf of GlobalGiving and an exponential sum on behalf of the wonderful donors like yourself that contribute to GlobalGiving projects.
What does that mean? For every donation a TYO donor makes to support child refugees, GlobalGiving will match nearly a third of that donation directly to TYO’s campaign! So if you give $100 or $1,000 today, you could make a $130 or $1,300 net impact on child refugees in Nablus!
Last year, this initiative raised over $800,000 for GlobalGiving partners like TYO and we hope you can contribute to make this campaign a smashing success for the children of Nablus!
Over the past month, the children of the TYO Core Child Program have been undertaking a variety of new subjects and activities as we enter into the Spring session. Take a peek inside the classrooms with the kids of TYO!
ON THE STAGE
Students took to the stage in Jawad’s Drama class creating scenes of life in Palestine and expressing a range of emotions, motions, and commotion never before experienced in the classroom. Students were able to increase self-awareness, self-confidence, coordination, and public speaking while working in an environment that fostered creativity and imagination from each child.
“One such success story involves a child named Hama. People thought that he was unable to talk. Slowly, he started to participate in drama activities and began to express himself. Now, he has the voice to talk and express how he feels with the other children.”
–Jawad, Drama Instructor
IN THE LAB
When things go BOOM! in the TYO classroom, it’s usually a sign all is well. At least that was the case this month as students worked to build volcanoes in their science lab, learning about acids, bases, and combustibles in volcanic eruptions as well as the properties of the slippery substance “Gluep.” None of the wide-eyed students had EVER had the thrill, pleasure, and enriching educational experience of conducting a lab experiment in class before, much less with vinegar and baking soda or corn starch and water as their investigative instruments. Needless to say the science lab in our critical thinking class left students positively erupting with shrieks of joy and excitement the whole day long!
“All of these science projects not only solidify concepts that my students may learn in school textbooks, but they also allow them to have experiences that they never imagined possible.”
-Clare, TYO Teaching Fellow
AT THE PLAYGROUND
In schools around the world, what’s a child’s favorite time of the day? RECESS! As more than two-thirds of the children TYO serves don’t get the opportunity to get out and play at sports or recreational activity, one of the core values of the program is to instill teamwork and physical activity into their daily routines. Children get the chance to expend energy, build strategy, and join together as a class with fun games and activities on the playground. Games like “The Escaping Hula-Hoop” and “Numbers Race” become classroom favorites the children carry home and into their neighborhoods with other local children.
“I hope that I have helped these children to develop a healthy and creative approach to life, as well as personalities that will allow them to be creative and productive members of their families and communities, despite the tough environment that they live in.”
–Haitham, Sports Instructor
AROUND THE STORY-TELLING CIRCLE
One of TYO’s most important contributions to the community is a multicultural environment where people from different backgrounds, ethics and religions can interact with each other and hear other people’s stories. Therapeutic storytelling forms an avenue by which children are able to communicate with one another, with TYO staff, as well as with their families and communities about the experiences they must face on a daily basis. In this way, children are able to process their experiences and translate them into productive and cathartic stories through which they find release and a safe outlet.
“Although we are individuals, our stories are all connected and related. There is no better place to explore the individual and cultural sources of narrative than at a multicultural center like Tomorrow’s Youth Organization.”
– Suhad, Psychosocial Program Manager
So as we move ahead into a promising Spring with the children of TYO’s Core Program, in addition to our thriving International Internship Program and Youth Development projects, we ask that you might pause to make a contribution, however large or small on GlobalGiving’s Bonus Day, March 14, 2012. The earliest donations stand the greatest chance of impact, so start your morning off right and give a little to change a lot for the youth of Nablus!
TYO thanks you in advance for your continued support!
-MORE TIME TO LEARN! We have extended morning classroom time for young learners in our Core Program, offering an additional thirty minutes of valuable exploration in the art, sports, story-telling and imagination rooms. This is a fantastic addition for children who have no toys at home and look to their mornings at TYO for educational recreation each week. Needless to say, they were thrilled!!
-WARM WINTER WEAR! Each child at the Nablus center received a bag FULL of warm winter clothes during the holiday season. Over 360 children, ages 4-14, picked up these prized parcels containing sweaters, shoes, long underwear, socks, hats, and scarves among other wonderful winter items to get them through the cold months in mostly unheated housing in the refugee camps. Three cheers for fingers, toes, and a toasty, warm nose!
-NEW LOCAL VOLUNTEERS!TYO also greeted new and returning volunteers, recent graduates and students from An-Najah University. These volunteers have ambitiously signed up to give back to their communities and by providing funds for the resources they use in the classroom (snacks for the students, sports equipment, transportation for TYO field trips), your contribution helps to magnify the impact of their commitment.
-NEW INTERNATIONAL INTERNS! Thanks to your generous backing and TYO’s Public Diplomacy Partnership with the US Consulate in Jerusalem, our four new interns—Nawal, Laura, Claudia, and Anna—have also arrived in Nablus for the spring term! Daily, our interns work side by side with our Palestinian volunteers, bridging the cultural gap and serving the community of Nablus and surrounding camps. As they unpack bags and preconceptions about life in the West Bank, the girls offer a bird’s eye view of their first few weeks on the ground:
“Walking through the Old City, I see kids playing amongst abandoned cars and in vacant lots, where factories or houses once stood. In place of a ball or toys, a dirt pile and a couple of sticks are used for entertainment. This is their playground. It is a long road ahead, but I know that my time here will be worth every minute and truly make a difference in the lives of those who need it most.”- Nawal, University of Pennsylvania
“In the US, a great deal of significance is place on the ability to shelter young children from anything deemed too scary, overwhelming, or serious. I think we all hope to protect children from the harsh realities of the world, but here, shared history binds the community together and fulfills a real need for healing.” –Laura, University of Chicago
“In touring the Old City in Nablus, we came across many martyr photographs and plaques erected in memory of those lost to violence. I learned that the Arabic word for “martyr” does not have the same simplistic meaning as what we use for its English counterpart. Martyr in Arabic also means “witness.” I now understand that the people in these pictures were not necessarily aggressors, but instead victims of violence and cultural misunderstandings.” -Claudia, Georgetown University
“On the first day of classes, we went to greet the teary four-to-eight year olds from the Core Program – an experience that taught me that my Arabic is not comprehensible to little kids and, in fact, just makes them cry harder. By the end of the day, though, their trepidation had dissolved as they stomped and shouted “Ihna shabaab al-Filusteen!” [“We are the youth of Palestine!”]. I can only imagine the transformations that are yet to come, for them and for me. The door is open; I’m just waiting to see what will transpire inside.” –Anna, Middlebury College
Holiday greetings, Thank you so very much for supporting TYO's education programs in the West Bank. In the past month, your giving has been truly amazing! In fact, we are just $664 away from our annual target and with your help we will certainly reach it before December 31. Stumped on what to buy that last friend or family member? Here are two ways to avoid the holiday rush and get our project closer to its goal: Donate to $25 or more to our project and receive limited edition POSTCARDS featuring the photos from our young Palestinian photographers in Nablus. You can also receive a set of NOTE CARDS with watercolor scenes of Jerusalem for a $50 donation to our Women's Entrepreneurship program in Lebanon. Or give a gift that keeps on giving this year: donate in honor of friends, loved ones, colleagues and send a custom GlobalGiving/TYO tribute card by email or post. Its the third giving option on our project page. It has been a busy month in Nablus as well. The fall 2011 semester has come to a close most successfully! With your support, children particpated in Drama, Music, Sport, and Art classes taught by our fantastic interns James, Andrew, Abi, and Aimee at the TYO Center. Have you seen the TYO blog lately? Don't forget to check out some of the highlights from this semester:
Thank you again for your continued support of TYO. Every single dollar is greatly appreciated and makes a difference in the lives of the communities we work with. Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2012! --The entire TYO Team in Nablus, Beirut, and DC
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