Student, 22 – United States
I’m a 22 year old Muslim woman from sunny California. My mother is from Cuba, my father from Palestine. As may be expected from such a cross-cultural combination, I was exposed from a very young age to the politics of the world and to what I, as a person, could do to make a difference.
Last summer, as I was pondering post graduation possibilities after working as a Diversity Advocate intern at my university’s social justice centre, I stumbled upon Project Hope’s website. I watched the Project Hope YouTube videos, I read the blogs and the volunteer handbook, and felt an instant connection. All of the programs fascinated me, especially the creative arts section and the blogging program. The beautiful idea of giving this population a voice, a chance to tell their own stories, is exactly what I feel is needed most in this world of conflict. This is what Project Hope does and tirelessly works toward, and that is why I knew Project Hope was a fit for me.
At Project Hope I have been teaching English, Creative Writing, and Spanish. During my stay here I also hope to coach football, and to host some workshops encouraging freedom of expression through spoken word poetry.
I’ve met fantastic people. The international and local volunteers are amazing and so welcoming, and the students are eager to learn, with a thirst for knowledge as deep as the obstacles the occupation has set before them. I feel useful. This may sound odd, but it is the only word that truly reflects how I feel. Every moment anywhere counts, but here it seems like it counts just that much more.
If you are an open minded person wanting to give back to the world, come to Project Hope. The situation here is a product created by the ugly cycle of oppression. I feel that Project Hope counters this cycle, and I respect that. By volunteering here I feel that I am aiding this opposition to oppression, and it feels good. Project Hope works to provide this community with tools they can use to help themselves. It is a center of empowerment, and I think that is the best thing that can be done for people everywhere.