Archive

Monthly Archives: June 2013

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Mohammed Assaf & Meaningful Relationships

As you might know by now, June 22 was a very exciting night in Palestine- after three months of tough competition with other musicians from the Middle East, a young Palestinian singer named Mohammed Assaf won the wildly popular television show, Arab Idol. From fireworks to Facebook updates, it seemed all of Palestine showed their pride for Mohammed Assaf in some way. Yet before his fame, Mohammed Assaf lived in Gaza’s Khan Younis Refugee Camp, where many people lack basic life necessities and regularly experience violence. Mohammed’s dream to become a singer began in early childhood, but he faced continued Continue reading…

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Staggering Strides

Jenna Summer camp is always a highlight of a child’s year. It’s a chance for children to unwind, relax, and have some fun doing and learning different activities each year while they are not in school. I believe TYO’s summer camp goes above and beyond that of any regular camp. The programs here are specifically tailored to one group of students – the refugees in the camps surrounding Nablus. Emma, Jessica, and I teach the same 60 or so 9 and 10 year-old students every other day. Our students rotate between drama, arts & crafts, and sports & games classes. Continue reading…

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Wise Women Work Out

At TYO, we take a multigenerational approach to healthy living. We know that educating children isn’t enough, and that those lessons are lost without a supportive home environment. The Women’s Group started as a way to complement the lessons that children were learning at TYO by educating mothers of children in our programs. Schools in Palestine don’t focus on health, so for many of our women, these classes are the first time they have heard some of the basic health principles that American students get yearly in school. As interns, we co-teach twice weekly fitness classes for The Women’s Group. Continue reading…

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From Camp to the Classroom: Core Teacher’s Reflection on Work With Refugees

When I finished university, I dreamt of finding a job that allowed me to both serve my community, and expand my horizons. Working at TYO was that dream job- and also a turning point in my life. Three years ago, I started as a volunteer here, and now I’m a full-time employee as a Core Program teacher. In the beginning of my time at TYO, the idea of working with refugee kids was very challenging to me because of the stereotype of violence and bad behavior that exists around refugee camps in Nablus. Yet my first day at TYO was remarkable- I Continue reading…

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Summer Camp Freeze Frame

Every week of summer camp has a specific theme that helps our kids learn about themselves, their surroundings, and their important place in the world. Last week’s theme was “Me and My Community.” TYO Summer Camp receives kids from four different refugee camps in Nablus. Without even knowing anyone from outside their camp, many children harbor negative stereotypes about the other camps. This week’s theme introduced the campers to the concept of “community.” Our interns, volunteers, and translators helped the kids identify the many different communities to which they belong, and encouraged them to reconsider their biases by identifying the Continue reading…

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From Data to Every Day Work: New Report on Domestic Violence in Palestine

If you drop by The Women’s Group on any given weekday, you’ll quickly realize that we don’t shy away from noise: whether it’s Cindy Lauper songs on full volume in a fitness class or excitement coming from an embroidery class, the sounds of joy are impossible to miss. But sometimes in our seminars, we approach subjects that are a bit more silent in our communities- like this week, as we discussed domestic violence and protecting our children from abuse. And while these are topics certainly aren’t always easy to open up about, this recent report on gender-based violence in Palestine Continue reading…

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Newbies at An-Najah

Jenna Anywhere you travel in the world, whether it is a bustling metropolis like Singapore, an ancient village in the middle of the Sahara desert, or a city of history in the heart of the Middle East, you will always find signs and billboards on the streets written in English. But why English? People around the world understand that English is the language of choice for international communication. In a city such as Nablus that was closed off for so many years after the second intifada to almost all foreign exchange, it is incredible that only five years after movement Continue reading…

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Five Years Later: Core Teacher Haitham Reflects on His Journey at TYO

Several years ago, after graduating from An-Najah National University with a degree in sports, I started to plan for my future- and I decided to be an independent and productive person. I made this choice because I was the oldest son in my family, which meant I was responsible for helping my relatives. At the time, the unemployment rate was high in Nablus, and opportunities for success seemed nonexistent.Yet that didn’t stop me from volunteering at TYO in the sports class- which soon turned into the chance to officially join the team in 2008 as a Core Program teacher. For Continue reading…

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Najah ABC’s

As interns at TYO, we teach not only summer camp for youth in Nablus, but also English Language and Professional Competency at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels at An­-Najah National University. Although we’re the same age as these students, we have a significant amount of professional experience we know we can share with them. Few of our students have ever had a job, written a resume, or sat through an interview. In order to support youth preparing to enter the job market, TYO connects local university students with American interns who help empower them to articulate and begin the path Continue reading…

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Mohammed: Age 5, Language Learner

Infants are born with an innate language faculty and incredible brain plasticity (the amount the brain can be modified due to the environment); with age, these astonishing language-learning capacities diminish considerably as brain circuitry becomes ‘hard-wired’ and less dynamic, making a child’s early educational opportunities fundamental to his or her future success.  TYO strives to address this critical period of early childhood development, thus improving children’s overall success and wellbeing through the Core Child Program. At birth, infants have the ability to perceive all languages, but just after the first year of life, infants become culture bound listeners; as we Continue reading…