Fawwar camp near Hebron
David and Steven made up the small team of two men who lived and taught in Fawwar this year. They were joined each morning by Katie, Clare and Robina from the women’s team living in Hebron city. Once again there was strong support from the staff of the schools where the volunteers worked. Katie enthuses, ‘Really lovely students and such supportive staff, [we] felt so looked after and cared for.’ Robina says, ‘The teachers helped familiarise the students with Unipal while organising several social activities between the volunteers and the children which created a great atmosphere.’
In the afternoons the team worked with various local organisations and NGOs in Hebron. David worked at Partners for Sustainable Development (PSD) with a large group of lively children who enjoyed the less formal atmosphere in which to study. He planned a wide variety of activities and says, ‘The children really respond to arts and craft type activities and the opportunity to be creative; music and sport are also very popular. Most days the girls would ask to sing or hear a song in English and the boys would want to know words associated with football.’
Jeel el Amal, Bethany
Working at Jeel al-Amal home is fast becoming a firm favourite for volunteers. This year five volunteers worked over the four weeks. Francesca says, ‘I really enjoyed my time at Jeel al-Amal. We were able to put on fun activities and also treat the children to swimming trips away from the orphanage. We got the bus to Jericho and the children were so excited at the prospect of going out for the day that throughout the entire journey their faces were glued to the windows, absorbing the world around them. After the initial splash of all the children jumping into the pool at once, games, diving competitions and new underwater tricks ensued. The boys were in their element, playing happily and without worries – it was wonderful as most have had a difficult start in life.
By the time we were back in Jeel, the bus was silent as all the boys were fast asleep, exhausted from their action-packed day. Carrying and walking the sleepy boys back to their rooms is something I'll never forget – they were drifting between sleep and reality, entirely content after their fun-filled day.’ 'Personally, I also learned a great deal from my time in Palestine – about its history, politics, religion, language, traditions and culture. Most importantly, in a country with so many challenges, I saw that the children at Jeel al-Amal were growing up to be intelligent, thoughtful and already inspirational young people. It was an honour to meet them.’ Panna, who has spent three summers at Jeel before says, ‘Being able to see the boys grow up is so lovely and it’s great to see how the home is improving every year with the amazing changes to the building and all the great experiences for the boys – a new play area is being built as well as a new music room and so much more!’