Amazing Student-taken Photos from Doris’ Class!

Here are some of the highlights from Doris’ Explorers class. The kids were given cameras to take pictures with after a photography lessons. See more TYO photos as http://www.flickr/tyo.

PHOTOS: First Day!

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SOW Journal: Reflection on the First Day

The first day at Tomorrow’s Youth Organization (TYO) was a great success. The Summer 2009 Session marks the beginning of a Holistic Integrated Approach to early childhood education within TYO’s program for early childhood development. Since the end of April, the Core Program teachers have worked with educators and trainers from MaDad to develop a program that encourages children to create their own environments, curriculum and goals. This child centered approach pushes the child to tell his own story at an age when he may not have an outlet for his voice. The program provides an opportunity for children to become protagonists in their own biographies, education and future. Additionally, the new approach in theory and practice here at TYO integrates families in conversations with the children to better understand, narrate, and expand their personal biographies and opportunities.

Children at TYO educate themselves about subjects they choose and tell their own stories—a form of self-guided therapy. In a setting where psychosocial problems are the norm, their energy and resiliency is outstandingly evident.

On the first day, the Core Program teachers and students focused on actively appreciating their new space.  In order to teach the students about respecting themselves and their environment, the teachers began their classes with a cleaning activity allowing the children to take part in preparing the class for the day’s first activity.  Likewise, at the end of the day the children cleaned their space as well.  This practice of respect and responsibility for one’s environment instills in the children a sense of the classroom rules without lecturing or disciplining—it becomes second nature. I observed Ahmad’s class as he, his volunteers and the participants cleaned, decorated and learned about the space they will use for the rest of the summer.

With in the influx of several American interns, TYO is able to offer lessons in photography, creative writing and creative visual arts to children and youth.  The participants in these classes learn therapeutic skills that will allow them to tell their stories long after their instructors leave. Indeed, these skills are instrumental to TYO’s sustainable long-term goals of bringing their approach into the home.

The children warmed up to the staff and interns quickly. They began journaling their experiences in Kelsey’s Summer Camp. In Doris’ “Nabulsi Explorers” class, students had the opportunity to tell their own stories by learning basics in photography and how to critique each others’ work. Shahla’s “Mad Scientist” class allowed students to draw subjects they wished to learn about in class. When a few students commented that they had never drawn before. All I could think was: What kind of future can a child who has never drawn before imagine? This is the true importance of TYO’s work providing children with the skills to represent themselves through documentation, visual and narrative arts.

-Danny

Danny is a member of the New York University chapter of Students of the World, a volunteer film crew, spending one month with TYO in Nablus documenting the first weeks of the TYO summer program.

First Day of the Summer 2009 Session!

On Sunday, June 14, 2009 Tomorrow’s Youth Organization began its Summer 2009 Session in Nablus.  Approximately 180 children are registered for the Morning and Afternoon Core Programs.  An additional, 170 youth and 40 women are enrolled in classes taught by the five International Interns.  As part of an intensive four-month training program lead by MaDad, the Core Program teachers spent the last several weeks focusing on revamping their programs to focus on the Holistic Integrated Approach to early childhood education.  Similarly, the teachers and interns have transformed TYO’s classrooms and shared spaces into enriching, safe and familiar spaces.  The first day of the session was met with excitement and enthusiasm.  The Core Program participants, the majority of whom attended TYO in the spring, were awed by the changes.  The teachers were motivated by their energy and eagerness.  Additionally, under the leadership of Imad Mansour, the Volunteer Program is off to a great start.  Fifty-one service-minded students from An Najah University will join the TYO team as volunteers. It was a fantastic beginning to an important summer for all!

TYO is grateful to the National Beverage Company who generously donated juice boxes to keep the children happy and hydrated during the first day!

Ahmad, Health Teacher
The children weren’t as anxious as they were last session.  Today was a first day unlike any other.  As the children entered our Center, they ran excitedly to their previous classrooms  They didn’t know we had made changed so we had to help them get to the right class, but they were so eager. They asked so many questions.  I was so satisfied with my first day. It was incredible to bring the children into our redesigned space and feel their excitement and hear them express their happiness.

Please click to read more about the team’s thoughts on the first day! Continue reading

Computers arrive from Craig of craigslist!!

Just in the nick of time for the first day of TYO’s summer programs tomorrow, the computers donated by Craig Newmark of craigslist got to the TYO Nablus Center this afternoon! They had been held up at a checkpoint, and were possibly to be delayed until later this week. But they got in just in time, and we set them up on the locally-made, customized desks in a newly painted classroom!

Check out other pictures of our preparations for the summer on Facebook! And wish us luck with 500 little ones tomorrow :)

TYO sponsors women’s health event in Nablus-area village

Thanks to cooperation with the Palme Center, TYO will host a women’s health event today from 12 – 3 pm in Beit Furik, a small village near Nablus. Our health specialist, Ahmad Hanani, has organized the event, which will provide women with expert medical and psychological information about miscarriages.

The Palme Center brought two women’s health experts from Sweden to the West Bank who will speak to about 50 women in Beit Furik today. Ahmad developed the event based on the visitors’ expertise and the women’s concerns related to problems related to early and mid-term miscarriages that are very common among the village’s population.

Thanks to the Palme Center for offering this wonderful resource, and to Ahmad for his tireless work promoting health in the TYO community!

TYO Volunteers Met Volunteers from the USA

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On Wednesday June 10th 2009, TYO had 17 visitors from the United States. They were from the group, Students Interfaith Peace Project (SIPP).  International Relations Director Nell gave the students a brief overview of TYO and what we do in the Nablus area. I talked about the Volunteer Program and invited our volunteers to introduce themselves to our visitors. Several of the volunteers talked how TYO is important to the kids of Nablus.

After all the introductions, we split the guests and the volunteers into five binational groups and asked them to exchange ideas about words like “Palestine,” “Palestinian,” “conflict,” and “occupation.” After a lively discussion, we enjoyed more casual conversation among teens over falafel sandwiches.

After lunch, we toured the Old City of Nablus and saw many places, which were destroyed by the Israel army. Last but certainly not least, we ate kunafe, a famous Nabulsi dessert.

Though the group went back to Jerusalem after just a few short hours in Nablus, I know they left with a better understanding of what it means to be Palestinian.

-Imad

Intern Journal: A trip down Abraham’s lane….

It is hard to believe it has only been two weeks here at TYO. We have already not only enjoyed the sites of Nablus, but also those of neighboring towns and landscapes. Most recently, we went on a beautiful eight-hour “walk” (that was really a grueling hike) along what is thought to be one of the original paths walked by Abraham through ancient Palestine. After leaving Al Mghaier, a town outside of Ramallah, at around 8:30 in the morning, we trekked for a few hours to the town of Kafer Malek for some fantastic maklouba and a much-needed rest (for me, at least).  A few more hours later, we arrived at our final destination, Taybeh, totally exhausted, but with a huge sense of accomplishment. Taybeh is a beautiful town in the south of the West Bank, known for its  primarily Christian Palestinian community. After a few strolls around town and a visit to the famous local microbrewery (appropriately named Taybeh Brewing Company) the next day, we headed back to Nablus -  home, sweet home.  (The drive, incidentally, took about 40 minutes in comparison to the monstrous nine-hour hike).  Despite our sunburns and epic battles with mosquitoes, it was an absolutely fantastic excursion, filled with incredible sights and fun memories. Welcome to the West Bank!

-Margaret

TYO Teambuilding on the Abraham Path!

Check out some fantastic photos taken by Students of the World teammember Annie Escobar on our hike through the West Bank on Sunday! The entire TYO team hiked from hill to hill, through olive groves and wheat fields, as a teambuilding experience before our Summer Programs start (next Sunday, June 14).

Thanks to Habib, Hijazi, Areej, Montathem, and Ruba of the Abraham Path Palestine team for their fearless guidance through the hills! And to les soeurs de La Sainte Croix de Jerusalem who hosted us overnight in Taybeh. And Maria Khoury and the rest of the Taybeh family who gave us a great tour of their micro-brewery (the only one in Palestine)!

Upcoming cultural events in and around Nablus!

TYO is excited to share news about some great cultural events coming up in and around Nablus!

Our partner, Al Kamandjati Association, is coordinating a Music Days Festival in this period. One highlight will be an international music event on Friday, June 12 in one of the Holy Land’s most significant historical sites: Sebastia. Read more about Sebastia and its historical assets here, and then come join local and international TYO team, as well as other Kamandjati fans and partners for food, sightseeing and music!

There will be a bring-your-own picnic starting at 11 am, and then four international music groups (2 Palestinian groups, as well as an Italian and Norwegian ensemble) will start at 4:30 pm.

Kamandjati will also put on a show at TYO Nablus on Tuesday, June 16!

Finally, there’ll be a performance of La Boheme in Nablus at the new campus of An Najah University on Wednesday, June 17.

For all of you in the West Bank, come on up to Nablus and enjoy the music and sites with the TYO team! And for the rest of you not lucky enough to be here to join in, keep your eyes out for photos…

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