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Jun 2, 2020

Stories from Nablus During COVID-19.

Entrance to Balata Refugee camp.
Entrance to Balata Refugee camp.

“I've been married for 6 years. I have 3 girls and I’m currently 9 months pregnant. My daughters are 5, 4 and 2 years old. Since the beginning of my marriage I lived with my in-laws in the same house in Balata Refugee camp, where we experienced many hardships from being poor, not enough food, and too many people living under the same roof. It was very challenging and my father-in-law gave me a very hard time. Five months ago we moved to a room on the rooftop of my in-laws house. It has a bedroom, bathroom and small kitchen. The bathroom and kitchen are still not ready to be used so whenever we need to use the bathroom we have to go to my sister-in-laws room.”

TYO social workers have been in touch with Sara* and her family during the COVID-19 crisis. When asked about their current situation, she explained:

"Our situation is very difficult right now, it's the hardest time I’ve ever been through in my life.

My husband worked in the vegetable market at night where he would transfer vegetables. But ever since the Coronavirus crisis he hasn't been able to work in anything at all. It's been a whole month since he lost his job. This Coronavirus is ruining everything. Even before this situation we used to only eat once a day when my in-laws would bring something at night, but now there is absolutely nothing. For the past 2 weeks, there hasn't been any money or food in the house. My mother-in-law and brother-in-law also used to work but with the current situation they also lost their employment. So right now we have no source of income.

There’s an organization that gives us 3 kilos of bread every other day for the whole family, but we're 9 adults and 6 children in the house. We feed the children bread with vegetable oil, some days we add a little bit of thyme. The children cry a lot because they’re hungry, but I swear there isn't any food. Because they cry so much, my sister-in-law and I give them plenty of water to drink so they feel full and can go to sleep. Two days ago the children cried so much that we went to ask for food from other relatives. We came back with a little bit of rice and made them a plate. They all sat around it and ate together, every last bit. They were so happy, as if they were having a feast.

To tell you the truth, I’m exhausted. I haven't been able to rest or sleep properly as I’m always thinking of our situation, throughout the entire pregnancy I barely ate anything. I’m so worried that this lockdown might be extended longer. I’m scared of my upcoming due date in the middle of this month (April), especially since I can't afford the fees for giving birth; the clinic in the camp gave me a referral to a hospital but it would cost 130 NIS which I don't have. I also haven’t prepared for me or the baby and this is making me very anxious. We don't have cleaning supplies at home so I won't be able to clean and sanitize the house. I’m afraid my girls might catch something from me after I come back from the hospital.”

Thanks to your donations and support, Tomorrow’s Youth Organization staff are on the ground in Balata Refugee Camp, Nablus’s other refugee camps and it’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods, providing healthy food, medicine and basic supplies like baby formula and diapers to Sara’s* family and as many others as possible.

Sara delivered a healthy baby girl in the hospital in April via C-section. Our social workers were able to advocate for Sara and her situation to the hospital management, resulting in the hospital treating Sara and delivering her baby for free, without any fees. We were also able to provide Sara with a care-package of newborn baby supplies, to ensure her and her new daughter had everything they needed at home.

TYO staff delivering food to families in need.
TYO staff delivering food to families in need.
TYO's food deliveries to families in need.
TYO's food deliveries to families in need.
Apr 29, 2020

"Success for me is my own business."- Rana's Story

Rana gives an interview about her business.
Rana gives an interview about her business.

My name is Rana and I have always been dreaming of becoming a successful, independent business woman. I keep working on myself to increase my future opportunities. I have earned a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Birzeit University and a master’s degree in Business Administration from An-Najah University in Palestine.

Technology is my passion, and I believe that through technology we can always find the answer and the solution. Here in Palestine, we should think and work hard to make our dreams come true.

My idea is developing a website that connects medical staff with people who need healthcare. Deciding which doctor to visit and consult is a struggle and booking an appointment is even harder. I came up with the idea because I have a friend who had a baby with a skin problem. She went to a dermatologist and her skin problem got worse, until someone told her to go to a pediatrician. The pediatrician helped her and her baby was healthy again. After that, I realized that technology could be the solution.

My struggle started when I noticed that I have the knowledge of how to create such a website, but I do not know how to convert my idea into a real business, and I didn’t know from where to start! I knew that TYO is conducting a program for entrepreneurs, so I decided to participate and go for my dream.

I took all the training, which really helped me in answering a lot of questions that were on my mind. It was really the first step to starting my own business. It established a great foundation for me in the transition from an employee to a founder of a start-up. All the topics that were discussed during the program were comprehensive of every type of role, issue, opportunity and a challenge that a leader would face in a firm.

Fortunately, with hard work and commitment to my dream, I won $3,000 financial support at the end of the program. The money allowed me to start my project and develop a landing page, design my own logo, and buy needed equipment.

My project is still in its beginnings and I will keep dreaming until I have my own well-known website around the world. Success for me is my own business.

Feb 3, 2020

Here's to New Beginnings

Dana and her mom are loving Lego time!
Dana and her mom are loving Lego time!

Hello, my name is Dana. I am 4 years old. My mom is from Russia and my dad is from Palestine. I live in Askar, a small village in Nablus. I started coming to TYO three months ago, and I come to class every Monday and Wednesday. My mom comes with me on the bus and she is supposed to leave me in class until I finish at 11:30. Then she picks me up and we go home by bus again.   

When I first started, I cried hard when it was time to leave my mother. I did not like when she left the classroom and left me alone with other children and the new teacher and four volunteers. They were kind to me and tried to make me smile and play with other children and engage in the different activities, but I struggled. I couldn’t imagine being there alone away from my mama. We never leave each other. We are always together and we spend our time together at home - she cooks and I’m beside her, she visits her friends and I’m with her, she teaches sports in the gym and I also go with her. She never leaves me alone or with someone new. I am the one who never leaves her. Yes, I can’t leave her, you know why? Because I love my mom and can’t stay away from her.  

My mom is an amazing woman. She has been through some challenges since she moved from Russia to Palestine, when she married my father. Her life has changed. She lives far away from her family. We still visit them, but Russia is not close to Palestine, so we have to wait a long time to go there. She is from a different culture. She also looks different than most people who live in Palestine because she is blond with blue eyes. I look like her, too

My mom didn’t have a lot of friends when she came to Palestine. She also didn’t speak Arabic well. She speaks Russian and she had to learn Arabic in order to communicate with people, especially when my dad leaves for work and she stays alone at home.

My mom loves me and my sister Sabrina so much. She gives us everything we want and tries to make us feel happy and comfortable. She also spends most of her time at home with us. She used to work as a sports instructor at one of Nablus’ gyms, but not anymore. My mom said it was hard for her to take me with her all the time to the gym whenever she had a class to teach. I understand why. I’ve been there and I have seen how huge those machines are. I was scared to get close to them. But what can I do? I can’t leave her there alone; I miss her if she stays away from me for a short time, how about an hour?

At TYO, I have fun - great fun. The teacher is nice and understanding and the classes are full of toys and great materials. There is even an imagination room! It’s full of beautiful costumes I can try out and pretend to be someone! There is also a sensory room where we can try different sounds and lights of different colors. I enjoy my time there, but I cry when my mom is not around. My mom stayed with me in class for 1 month. She volunteered in class like the other volunteers. I wouldn’t leave my mother even if she stayed in the same room and left her chair or grabbed something over the shelf. I would follow her and cry her name out loud and cry, “don’t leave me!” My mother was so stressed when she noticed how stressed I was, and how I would spend the whole day nervous thinking about her leaving me anytime during the day. My mom approached my teacher, Marah, and talked to her about my situation. She said I’m not used to being left alone with so many strangers and that I’m so attached to her. I need a longer time to adapt to the new situation and to the staff. My teacher and my mom agreed on letting my mother stay in class for longer periods. She volunteered to stay in class as a volunteer, not as a mother, in order to make the classroom environment smoother.

My teacher and mother also helped me by giving me a special volunteer all to myself. She always said hello to me at the door and played with me during class. I became so calm and active at the same time. I also became more engaged in activities and even more social. I made friends through the session and showed empathy towards them in many situations. After a few weeks, I could stay in class all by myself without my mom! My parents at home and my sister Sabrina are so happy and grateful to finally be able to leave me in a good mood and not have to worry about me while my mom is not available. We can’t wait to be back next session. We miss everyone already! 

 
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