Project Hope has hosted more than 700 international volunteers since its inception in 2003, hailing from more than 30 different countries.
Dark Green: 50-150 volunteers
Light Green: 1-49 volunteers
Each of Project Hope’s International Volunteers teaches alongside a Palestinian Local Volunteer. Local Volunteers act as translators and often help internationals navigate the city.
After they’ve returned home, many of our internationals remain involved as Alumni Volunteers, organizing fundraisers and talks, and even serving as trustees on our international boards of directors.
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.”
Software Engineer, 46 – United States
I volunteered in 2003, and then again in 2005, teaching English and making films about Palestine and Project Hope. I decided to come to Palestine after reading about the tragic death of Rachel Corrie. I wanted to see for myself what was going on. For me, the most rewarding thing about volunteering was the sense of empowerment. You see that, even under really horrible conditions, people are good-hearted and life goes on. You get a feeling that you can go just about anywhere in the world, and things will generally be okay. I think Project Hope is particularly good because it’s not overly political. When you’re with Project Hope, you’re working on building something, just like the Palestinians who live there. You’re not doing things to them or for them, you’re doing things with them. Since I first volunteered I’ve helped maintain the website and email system. I hope to go back to Nablus within the next couple years.
Filmmaker, 25 – United States
Journalist, 26 – United Kingdom
In 2009 I had a gap between jobs and wanted to make the most of this brief freedom. As I was born and grew up in the Middle East, I knew a fair amount about Palestine, but had never been there. Rather than go as a tourist, I decided to put my CELTA qualification to good use. So I Googled “volunteering in the West Bank” and found Project Hope. Volunteering was a challenge. The children were amazing and difficult, fun and exhausting. A lot of them suffer from Post Traumatic Stress, which means they have a short attention span and their energy is boundless, which — because of the restrictions that they live within –they can’t fully expend. One of my pupils in the refugee camps, Tamer, would do laps around the classroom with his chair on his head, shrieking with joy whenever he got a question right. He preferred to sit on the table rather than at it. Like the other kids, he loved the map game, where they would point at a map guessing where London was, or even Palestine. It was tough to watch. Most of the children have never left Nablus, let alone the West Bank. A lot have never seen the sea. Although I admit I was skeptical about Project Hope, when I got there I realised just how much the charity was a part of the community. Refreshingly for an international NGO, rather than simply being an influx of foreign volunteers, on the ground Project Hope is run by Palestinians responding to the needs of their city. It is a huge privilege to work with the Project Hope team. Through them I was introduced and accepted into a society that has been through a lot. I was welcomed into people’s homes and made close friends in just a few months. I was assigned local volunteers who became my translators, my guides and my friends. I suspect I learned more than I taught. Since then I never really stopped volunteering. I have been to Canada and Amsterdam with Project Hope, working with the Board of Trustees and on exhibitions and events under the supportive guidance of co-founder Jeremy Wildeman. I also help set up a literary internship in the UK. I went back to Nablus last year and will go out again soon. This year I was made board member. I am now lucky enough to be a part of the decision making and project building. Project Hope has been a steep learning curve for me. Deciding to get involved in 2009 was certainly one of the best decisions I have made.
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.
English Literature Student at An-Najah University, 21 – Palestine
I started volunteering with Project Hope because I was searching for an internship to broaden my horizon. Sometimes Nablus can be so small. Project Hope was exactly what I was looking for. I wanted to show all the international volunteers the right idea, the correct image, of the Arab woman, who is like any other woman in any other country in the world. The best thing about volunteering with Project Hope is that I meet many new people from many different countries, I get to learn about so many cultures. I have the opportunity to represent Palestine by being a good friend to them and showing them our culture, which maybe they wouldn’t understand just by walking in the street. To me, Project Hope means Freedom. Democracy. Without Project Hope, I would not live. It’s difficult to live just for yourself. I like helping others. After I finish volunteering, I want to work. I have many ambitions, but most of them are impossible in our situation. I would love to be a tourist guide. Project Hope provides me the opportunity to be a junior tourist guide, helping and being friends to people from other places, so I can live my dream in the present.