16 International volunteers and 200 local volunteers shared in Zajel Youth Exchange Programme July international camp, which continued for fourteen days. During each day the international trainers and volunteers conducted a series of training workshops for local university and school students.
The topics of the training workshops given by the international volunteers included event management, documentary film production through mobile devices, coping skills in the job market, English language conversation, ice-breaking in the English language, teaching Spanish language and the art of public speaking, which benefited 200 students. Every workshop continued for twenty hours.
The July camp programme consisted of a series of lectures about Palestine’s history, contemporary life, social and economic conditions and Palestinian environment and infrastructure as well as the psychological effects caused by circumstances that Palestinians live in.
During their volunteering in An-Najah National University, Zajel programme organized visits to various holy, archeological and cultural sites including two university campuses, Balata refugee camp for Palestinians, Joseph’s grave, the old city of Nablus, Sabastia Town, city parks and Salah Khalaf Centre in Al-Far’a, ‘Anabta town and settlement locations that have been cleared in Jenin district in addition to visits to Bethlehem city, Beit Sahour, Beit Jala, Badeel Institute, the old city of Hebron, Nativity Church in Bethlehem and the old city of Jerusalem and its churches and historical landmarks.
Moreover, there were a series of social activities with the international volunteers to experience local culture, such as group weddings in Kufr Ra’ie Town, university graduation ceremony, spending time with Palestinian host families and sharing their daily lives and sharing Bedouin life in the Rashaydih desert while watching the sunrise across the Dead Sea. Also, visiting Jericho city included visiting the Christian christening bath on the Jordan River and the Deir Hijleh Monastery, mosaic factory and the factory of natural salt on the banks of the Dead Sea.
In order to introduce international cultures, Zajel held a global village exhibit at An-Najah New Campus, where each international participant briefly presented about their country through pictures that included a presentation of their country’s customs and traditions.
It is worth mentioning that these events were held and organized wholly by the student volunteers of the university. These students were trained and had practice with organizing various events at this level of proficiency, which had a huge role in making this camp a success. These local volunteers deal with cultural and technical challenges with a hands-on approach.
A recent graduate of An-Najah, Mai Shaheen, who was a volunteer in this programme, expressed her pleasure in organizing different events, “It has been such an amazing and unique experience, which has added so much to my personality. I’ve learned how to manage time better and ensure an event that is successful by paying attention to the slightest details. It has also given me a chance to interact with different cultures by communicating with people from all over the world.”
A current university student who also volunteers at the Zajel programme said, “The experience of participating in Zajel’s international exchange campuses is always so special. It has helped develop many different aspects of my personality and I’ve gained outstanding communication skills through the internationals that teach different workshops. It is also a great opportunity to practice different languages that I know and has enhanced my time management skills that will ultimately help me achieve my future goals.”
- The camp is held three time per year, once every month from July to September. This is mainly to help students and Palestinian youth to develop their various abilities of communication and other technical skills at the hand of international volunteers with different levels of education.