COVID19: Education & Food for Palestinian Children

by Tomorrow's Youth Organization
COVID19: Education & Food for Palestinian Children
COVID19: Education & Food for Palestinian Children
COVID19: Education & Food for Palestinian Children
COVID19: Education & Food for Palestinian Children
COVID19: Education & Food for Palestinian Children
COVID19: Education & Food for Palestinian Children
COVID19: Education & Food for Palestinian Children
COVID19: Education & Food for Palestinian Children
COVID19: Education & Food for Palestinian Children
COVID19: Education & Food for Palestinian Children
COVID19: Education & Food for Palestinian Children
COVID19: Education & Food for Palestinian Children
COVID19: Education & Food for Palestinian Children
COVID19: Education & Food for Palestinian Children
COVID19: Education & Food for Palestinian Children
COVID19: Education & Food for Palestinian Children
COVID19: Education & Food for Palestinian Children
COVID19: Education & Food for Palestinian Children
COVID19: Education & Food for Palestinian Children
COVID19: Education & Food for Palestinian Children
COVID19: Education & Food for Palestinian Children
COVID19: Education & Food for Palestinian Children
COVID19: Education & Food for Palestinian Children
COVID19: Education & Food for Palestinian Children
COVID19: Education & Food for Palestinian Children
COVID19: Education & Food for Palestinian Children
COVID19: Education & Food for Palestinian Children
COVID19: Education & Food for Palestinian Children
COVID19: Education & Food for Palestinian Children
COVID19: Education & Food for Palestinian Children

An old African proverb states: If you educate a man, you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman, you educate a nation. Despite the clear unequal conditions in which women have always lived, it’s easy to say that they are the point of reference for their families. As a matter of fact, women are in charge of the emotional and educational support of all family members. Despite this, a lot of cultures still emphasize the importance of girls becoming wives and mothers, keeping them out of the classroom and not allowing them to make an impact on the society they live in. What these societies do not consider is that an educated woman is better able to educate her own children who, in turn, will be more likely to become educated themselves. Therefore, investing in women and girls, who will be the mothers of tomorrow, means generating benefits not only to them, but everyone around them. Sadly, the reverse is also true: if you deny girls and women education, the whole community suffers, not just them as individuals. 

 

In this context, Tomorrow’s Youth Organization stands up for the right of women and girls to receive a proper education in Palestine. The choice of promoting educational programs for people in need has to be considered as part of a cycle that produces benefits for all of Palestinian society. Therefore, every week, women of Nablus come to Tomorrow’s Youth Organization to learn English with foreigner teachers and claim their rights as individuals. Classes are full and students are truly willing to learn and challenge themselves. Learning English nowadays is a key resource for living as modern citizens in a global community. Speaking English opens up access to different sources of information. Also, when mothers feel confident about their English level, they can be part of their children’s educational path, making sure that they learn the language correctly while providing them a quality education and numerous opportunities in life. Reducing the educational gap between men and women means to ensure a great empowerment for women’s lives, enabling them to live as educated people and generate a positive impact on tomorrow’s generation. 

 

Through the circle of sisterhood, teachers across the world stand together to remove barriers to education for women in Palestine. During English classes, students have the chance to escape from an oppressive reality, do something for themselves and meet other women who can understand how they feel. Thanks to the TYO programs, women are finally involved in a great process of freedom and empowerment that involves the entire society.

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Whether you are a parent, child, or someone of any age that lives in Khalet Al Amood, a street in the city of Nablus, you would definitely know about Tomorrow’s Youth Organization. For this reason, I have known TYO for the entirety of my life; it is a place I have been to in different parts of and stages of my life: as a child, during my college years, and now as a graduate.

As a child, TYO used to be the place I loved going to especially during summer because of all the fun activities done by the organization. In one summer program, a foreign intern taught a class on learning how to use cameras. After explaining the important parts of the camera, the organization took us to Beit Foreek, a town in Palestine filled with many beautiful farming fields. The trip was like a practical class for us to finally use the camera on our own and take pictures to apply what we learned. We were even handed out cameras to use, and I felt like a grown-up while holding them, and I was so scared to lose or break them.

I remember feeling so proud of myself for being trusted to carry a camera around and take pictures with it freely. This is because many adults believe that children are all irresponsible and incapable of overcoming challenging tasks so they cannot be trusted with expensive devices. However, TYO entrusts its students with trying to learn new skills and making the child believe in themselves. I have found this evident during all the times I have been in TYO. Thanks to TYO, I have fallen in love with photography ever since that class, and now I am saving money to buy a camera to take more high-quality photos like professional photographers. TYO is more than an organization; it is a community where transformative experiences can shape people for life, a place where people of all ages can grow and return year after year.

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At Tomorrow’s Youth Organization (TYO), we think of our Early Childhood Programs as building a foundation for the future of our children and society. Our programs open the door for many children who may not have the opportunity to attend kindergarten or preschool for various reasons, especially financial limitations. At TYO, we offer the most marginalized children quality early childhood education to cultivate the next generation of changemakers. 

Ismail and his twin brother Ali, both three years old, were among the children who particularly benefited from our holistic and personalized program. When they first started the program, they held onto each other and their mother. While their bond helped them feel comfortable in the new classroom environment, it soon came time to separate from their mother and engage in the program with other children. Initially, they cried without stopping, fearing that their mother would leave and never come back. The focus of our teachers became integrating the twins into the classroom and environment and building their sense of safety and trust. Working with their mother, the teachers gradually supported the boys until they became comfortable. 

Now, when the family arrives at TYO, Ali and Ismail leave their mother, run to their class, hug their friends, and play with them. “I can’t believe that I was able to get over the separation problem,” said the mother of the two boys. “It was like a dream that could not be achieved, but it became a reality thanks to the support of Tomorrow’s Youth Organization, as my life and the lives of my children changed indescribably for the better after joining the organization’s programs. Originally, I was feeling resentment and frustration because I saw that other children were not reacting like my own. Once I received the support and help I needed, I began to realize the individual differences between children.” 

Today, Ali and Ismail’s mother is able to continue her education and attend university because TYO is able to care for the children. The twins are also looking forward to attending school next semester with new friends who love to play, explore and learn. When approached by his teacher, Ismail said “Teacher, please take pictures of me and my brother looking happy so our mother would see. We will not cry so our mother keeps bringing us here every day.”

Tomorrow’s Youth Organization continues to be a safe and supportive refuge for many families, empowering them to build a bright future.



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When Mahmoud found out he was coming back to TYO, he leapt up from excitement. “My favorite day in the organization was the first day I came here, I was really excited!” he recalled. 

Mahmoud comes everyday to TYO from the Balata refugee camp. He shared with us how he, his 4 siblings, mother and father are lucky to be living at the entrance of the refugee camp because “We are safe and don’t suffer from the tear gas in the refugee camp because most of the clashes happen deeper inside the camp.” Even though they are further away from the clashes, he and his family still have to deal daily with problems and fights with the neighbors. “Having fights and being exposed to them is not good for my parents and my family,” he said.

Despite the struggle of living in a refugee camp, Mahmoud has big dreams. “When I grow up I want to become a dentist. Studying at TYO and receiving a good quality of education will help me get to university and become a dentist,” he says. 

In the beginning, Mahmoud was a very shy child who didn’t participate in class. His teacher, Mr. Mahmoud, explained, “I will never forget when Mahmoud first came to TYO, he was only 4 years old. He was crying and wanted his mother. Today he is in the sixth grade and is proud to be part of the organization and loves his teachers. He has ambition and he has good grades.”

At the age of 4, Mahmoud was part of the TYO education program for a year. He then returned at the age of 11 and told us, “I really wanted to come back to TYO. When I was in kindergarten Mr. Mahmoud taught me and I grew up with him. I liked seeing him everyday, and I wanted to come back so I could see him again.”



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When he started TYO’s Early Childhood Education program in 2018, Ali was three years old and had no friends because of his shyness and speaking difficulties. His mother was the only person in the world who could understand him without him needing to speak a word. She wondered how he would adapt without friends and without the ability to express himself.

The organization soon began assisting her to support Ali’s development. The TYO team directed him to a speech center to begin his treatment journey. At the same time, his teacher Noor helped him integrate with other children and build his confidence.

Amani, his mother says “My life and the life of my child have changed dramatically after joining TYO. In the beginning, I didn’t know how to deal with Ali and was in despair because he couldn’t speak or interact with other children. Through TYO, I gained skills and resources that enabled me to empower my child in a way I couldn’t imagine before.” 

Three years after joining TYO, Ali wakes up early and says to his mom: “Mama, let's get ready; the teacher is waiting for us." Whereas he used to cry and refuse to play with other children, he has become a leader in the classroom, taking initiative in all the activities and helping younger children. He comes every day with greater enthusiasm and happiness than the day before.

From the very beginning, TYO accepted him and provided the love, support, and space he needed to express himself. Now, he eagerly welcomes new students in his class with “Hi! My name is Ali.”

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Organization Information

Tomorrow's Youth Organization

Location: McLean, VA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @tomorrowsyouth
Project Leader:
Suhad Jabi
Director, Tomorrow's Youth Organization
McLean, VA United States
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