It’s so hard to say in such few words how much this experience has had an impact on me as a person and on my whole life and outlook. I didn’t really know what to expect from the Zajel programme, I just thought I would go visit some places and work with some children and that would be it! What I didn’t expect to find is a place filled with courageous, warm and dignified people who despite the struggles and injustices they face every day still manage to be happy, positive and hopeful.
The children at Askar Refugee Camp were an inspiration, so full of energy and so happy. As a mother it was heartbreaking to see how little resources were available to the children and the volunteers at Askar, especially children with special needs. But the most amazing thing about Askar and the people there is that despite their lack of resources and the obstacles they face they don’t let it hold them back. They don’t complain about what they don’t have, they make the best of what they do have and this clear in their smiles and the laughter you hear. As for the rest of the programme there are no words to describe it, you really have to experience it for yourself!
I remember reading at the very end of the Introduction Booklet “welcome home” and thinking “what an odd thing to say”. Imagine, after only two weeks, I fell in love with a land and its people and I am proud to call Palestine my home! I have made lifelong friends and together we will stand with the Palestinian people and tell the world about the things we have seen, until they listen. Palestine and its people will stay in my heart forever. Thank you to all my friends at Zajel and all my friends from all over the globe for changing my life for the better, you will be forever in my thoughts and in my heart.