Feb 20, 2018

Community in learning - between language and space

Touring Jaffa
Touring Jaffa

We are now about halfway through our activity year, and have begun to witness our Community in Action participants developing awareness, gaining knowledge and familiarizing themselves with different social issues in Jaffa, including the reality of the schools where they are volunteering with Jewish and Palestinian youth.

Last month, the program participants went on a tour in Jaffa, which is a traditional part of the program. However, unlike in previous years, this time the tour was planned and organized by the participants themselves. For the Jewish participants, this meant conducting independent research and dealing with complex concepts, such as gentrification, which challenged some pre-conceived notions about residency and power. The fact that they were in charge of transferring the knowledge rather than simply consuming it enabled the Jewish participants to process the information more efficiently. For the Palestinian participants, the learning and guiding process was more personal: one of them turned to her grandfather to hear more of his memories from Jaffa during the Nakba, and another participant from Jaffa's Ajami neighborhood had the chance of sharing the neighborhood's history and her own life experiences with the group.

During their weekly binational meetings, participants go through workshops and deal with issues such as identity and language. In a recent workshop, where they were encouraged to examine different aspects of language usage, one Jewish participant was questioning the importance of increasing the Arabic language's presence in the public sphere. Through facilitated dialogue in which Palestinian participants explained that for them speaking Arabic is a part of the struggle to overcome inequality, he eventually said: "in the beginning of this discussion I thought that I would want Hebrew and Arabic to be represented equally [at a planned school event], but [now] I feel that it is my duty to speak Arabic and make it more present in public spaces". Along with Sadaka-Reut's staff, Jaffa residents and friends, Community in Action also joined our first public Jaffa Community Event of 2018, where we discussed the politicization of the Arabic language in Israel with Dr. Yoni Mendel, an expert on language and Jewish-Arab Relations. Following the conversation, a Palestinian participant said that she was happy this conversation further clarified the importance of speaking and teaching Arabic separately from the security context.

All this is possible because of the many generous donations Sadaka-Reut received from you.

Thank you for supporting our project and helping Palestinian and Jewish youth to create a more equal and just society in Israel!

In conversation about language and politics
In conversation about language and politics
Nov 20, 2017

It's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new year at SR

Sadaka-Reut Conference 2017
Sadaka-Reut Conference 2017

In September 2017, we began our project year with Community in Action. Community in Action (CiA) is a volunteering and leadership development project for young Palestinian and Jewish high school graduates and university students. The project creates a cadre of young, committed, bi-national activists and leaders who have the tools, knowledge, and capability to promote socio-political change, and to work toward manifesting their vision of a just society.

We began this project year with 17 CiA participants who spent the first week engaging with uni-national education. Uni-national work, which is practiced throughout the year, refers to programming in which participants work within their nationality (Jewish or Palestinian). Dialogue, discussion, and activities are later discussed again in a bi-national framework. The purpose of uni-national work is to build up the participant's confidence and comfort within their own identity, so as to begin to think critically about their society and roles within it. Participants began to volunteer as tutors in schools in Jaffa with students aged 6-17. In their first educational seminar of the year, students traveled to Haifa where they learned about both the Jewish and Palestinian historical narratives there. This session was also used as a way for the participants to get to know each other on a deeper level and to set group expectations for the year.

This year, we successfully hosted our first educational conference, 'Identity: from Margins to Mainstream,' which had a turnout of over 100 people, including 40 teachers and educators, who was our primary target for the event. Conversations focused on how only one main narrative is taught in schools, causing many to feel isolated. Solutions focused on how to increase the discourse around different identities in the country so as create a more equal environment within the education system.

As per Sadaka-Reut style, we made sure to incorporate all those present. After the main speakers finished, we held roundtables facilitated by Sadaka-Reut alumni and staff members, in which people could share their experiences and suggest practical solutions. We received particularly good feedback about this aspect and many said they would have liked to continue for longer. We ended with a panel that focused on solutions, including Sadaka-Reut's work and of other partner organization working within the education system.

Aug 28, 2017

Community in Action 2016/2017 in retrospect

Tour in Jaffa
Tour in Jaffa

“I start to put the pieces together and understand why there is inequality”

The summer is in full swing and, like every year it is time, for Sadaka-Reut to review the past months of planning programs and performing activities with young community leaders. Community in Action is in its final stage and the young leaders had their last weeks of volunteer work with their schools and community centers. Finally, the 9-month long educational program is coming to an end with many successes. The year began in October 2016and included training sessions through lectures, workshops and tours led by activists, community members and NGOs focusing on social injustices and on structures and consequences of nation-based oppressions; public outreach campaigns’ development and execution; leadership skills development through campaign building training, advocacy and other social change skills designed to build activism capacity, and a variety of dialogue sessions. We are very happy that this cycle we managed to have 76 activity days with the participants, 4 day-tours and three seminars held in Haifa and Jerusalem full of learning about history, narratives and identity.

 

“I gained a lot of information, it is important for me to know the history of my people from different places. I think that my people live in fear because they do not know their history. I feel right about who I am when I understand my history.”

 

11 youth of both nationalities and gender, completed the educational program. The participants passed through 2578 hours in total of voluntary work in 4 different local schools and community centers reaching in total 63 6-17 year old Jewish and Palestinian students.

 

“Volunteering makes me more confident that education is the most important thing I can do in my society, and it gives me a critical perception of the reality of the pupils I will work with in the future.”

 

The young people have undergone an intense and sometimes challenging progress, and we can see that the participants made an impressive development in creating a feeling of responsibility and solidarity to their communities. We are very grateful that these young leaders could express their thoughts and believes through four amazing public outreach campaigns that they designed, planned and initiated to promote a just and peaceful society and which challenged currently accepted norms of prejudices, discrimination and racism.

 

“I used to know nothing about these issues; I was embarrassed to speak about it. Now I seek this kind of discussion”.

 

Now, after 9 successful and inspiring months full of learning, sharing and creating friendship through partnership, the team of Sadaka-Reut is saying goodbye to the group of young activists. We wish them all the best for their future activities and are already prepared to welcome the new group of motivated participants who will be future social change makers of Sadaka-Reut.

We would like to thank you for your generous support of the Community in Action program. Only through your donation we are able to work so fully with these future change-makers.

The Jerusalem Tour
The Jerusalem Tour

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