Filmmaker + Yoga Teacher, 26 – Scotland/Yemen
In October 2009 I volunteered with Project Hope for three months, teaching English in the Old City and Yoga at the Multiple Sclerosis Society and Women’s Center. Having grown up in the Middle East and later studied International Law and Politics at Edinburgh University, I had background knowledge of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and was involved in a number of fund-raising and outreach activities before going. The more awareness I gained about the region, the more determined I became to travel there.
I felt safe while I was in Nablus and loved walking through the streets of the Old City, getting to know the people and enjoying their overwhelming hospitality. Within a few weeks of living there, I felt completely at home.
Project Hope is a great place to start if you are interesting in volunteering. The people of Nablus are welcoming and friendly despite the difficult environment in which they live, and experiencing this environment first-hand is incredibly eye-opening. The Project Hope staff assign each volunteer a local volunteer/translator to help you out, they fully utilize your time when you are out there and offer enough support and guidance to see your projects to fruition. Project Hope, without a doubt, is a necessary home.
Volunteering is a rewarding experience. It gave me the opportunity to spend time with incredible people and children on a daily basis. Although I believe they taught me more than I taught them, I was always humbled by their appreciation of my classes.
The underprivileged youth in the West Bank, many of whom suffer from post traumatic stress disorder and learning difficulties, are in dire need of fun-loving teachers to help equip them with new skills. The hardest part for me was not being able to stay in Palestine and teach indefinitely.
Since 2009, I have continued to be involved with Project Hope, including leading ‘cultural training’ workshops in the UK for new volunteers. I intend on returning to work with them in Palestine in Summer 2011, “inshallah.”