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Monthly Archives: July 2014

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How, Not If

TYO is a non-political organization positioned in a climate of endless politics. Discussing my time here without mentioning words like “occupation” or “checkpoints” has been challenging – but if use of semantics in a blog has troubled me so, I can only imagine the massive effort which goes into balancing TYO away from political rhetoric in a land built on a foundation of political rhetoric. Thoughts of nightly raids, arrests, and the sound of F16s all melt away as the faces of women approach each other in greeting. They range in age, but their unifying characteristics are comical banter, a Continue reading…

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Parting Ways With Palestine

As an Assyrian American from Chicago, I thought I had virtually no ties to Palestine. The homeland of my mother and father is in Northern Iraq. I came to Palestine to learn how to teach under pressure and to strengthen my professional skills. The more time passed, the more parallels I began to find between Palestine and my own life. The women here are strong-willed, not afraid to speak their minds – much like my mother, my aunts, my cousins. The people here feel a strong attachment to their culture and heritage despite being displaced – so much like the Continue reading…

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A final goodbye

On our last day of session at TYO, we took the children to the pool. Most of the kids could not contain their excitement and began splashing at the earliest possible moment. Ghazal didn’t follow suit. In the five weeks that I taught her English, she did not once smile. This was despite many efforts through group play and crafts that were meant to advance the kids’ English ability. But somehow, with the help of one of the Core AM teachers, we were able to get Ghazal to join the others in the pool. She only stuck her feet in Continue reading…

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The Last Post!

“Khalto Eve! Khalto Eve!” My class waved at me for the last time from the windows of their school buses, and I waved back as they disappeared into the distance. TYO’s summer program has flown by, but the faces that left me behind were happy. It did not feel like that would be our last goodbye, and I began to reflect upon my experiences over the past couple of months, and several memories of TYO stood out in particular. Whilst working for the Student Training and Employment Program (STEP!) at An-Najah National University, the vast changes in the students between Continue reading…

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Reflecting on a New Home

As I sit on the balcony overlooking Nablus writing this blog post, I  am in awe at the fact that I came back to the land that my grandfather fled from 66 years ago during the 1948 War and was never permitted to return to. Before coming to Palestine, I rarely identified myself as a Palestinian. Since both my parents were born in Lebanon and because I was born and raised in the United States, I tended to see myself solely as American-Lebanese. Throughout my time here in Palestine, however, I have felt a connection to a part of my Continue reading…

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Until We Meet Again: Last Week of The Women’s Group

Last week, The Women’s Group at TYO marked the final few days of the Summer 2014 session with certificates for outstanding commitment, an intensive seminar on the dangers of withholding food from children during the current season of Ramadan, and an exciting field trip to the local swimming pool. In these last bits of celebration, over 100 women wrapped up what’s been an eventful, awareness-raising five weeks as we’ve covered topics such as protecting one’s self after violence, preventing women’s cancers, and the problematic consequences of the past-time of shisha smoking. And we know that it wasn’t just an information overload Continue reading…

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Youth in Focus: An Interview with Rawan Saqfelheet

Rawan Saqfelheet is second year student at An-Najah National University studying English Literature and American Studies. Rawan is from Nablus. What made you interested in TYO’s STEP! Program? I was interested in registering in TYO’s STEP! program because I wanted to practice speaking English with native speakers and gain experience working with children because as I plan to be a teacher upon graduating from An Najah. I was also interested in the STEP! program because I had heard about the opportunities to attend job training seminars. I’d never written a CV or learned how to interview for a job and Continue reading…

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What to Assess When You’re Assessing

At Tomorrow’s Youth Organization in Nablus, classes are held for a diverse group of community members that range in age.  From small children learning English, women learning about computers, and local University students gaining professional skills TYO employs it’s psycho-social approach to ensure evocative learning experiences for all. In TYO’s Core PM English classes, many children arrived with little confidence in their English skills and lacked the social skills necessary to create a friendly and fun environment. Throughout the past few weeks, every child has not only demonstrated a knack for English but have also grown to care for one Continue reading…