Join the TYO Team on a Journey Across the Sahara

The Sahara Race — spanning 150 miles (250 km) through the Valley of the Whales in Egypt and part of the 4 Deserts “Racing the Planet” series — was named by TIME magazine as one of the top 10 toughest endurance competitions in the world. In October 2011, TYO friend and supporter, Usama Malik, will take on this unbelievable challenge in support of TYO.
Please join team TYO as Usama runs to raise funds for Tomorrow’s Youth. Throughout the summer, we’ll be checking in on his training–running up to 130 miles a week–and fundraising for TYO–the climb to $20,000.

How can YOU get involved?

Please visit our project page and contribute! Better yet, join Crowdrise, an online platform that puts the fun in fundraising, and become a fundraiser for Team Usama & TYO. Invite friends to join the Team and keep up with Usama’s progress.

As always, TYO is extremely grateful for our generous supporters. We would like to send a special message of thanks and good luck to Usama for taking on this incredible challenge to benefit TYO. And to all of you — thank you in advance for joining our cause! Stay tuned for more updates from Usama’s training log.

A Bit More about Usama

Usama lives in New York City where he works as Vice President for Worldwide Innovation and Diversified Businesses Strategy at Pfizer Inc.  He likes to write essays on social, cultural and political issues – particular interest in developing markets (he grew up in Nigeria and Pakistan), exploring human nature, and understanding the impact of behavioral economics on policy and society.  Usama also actively contemplates and participates in social & economic development opportunities, including co-founding a non-profit homeless shelter 10 years ago. He also supports and drives a multitude of philanthropic causes related to health, education, and women’s rights globally, including TYO, and currently serves as board member to several non-profits. He is a distance runner, tennis aficionado, world traveler, compulsive reader, and foodie.

Farewell Spring 2011 Interns!

One of the most rewarding aspects of the nonprofit field is meeting and working with so many talented and passionate interns. At TYO, we usually learn as much from them as they do from us.

Which is why it is always so hard to let them go!

Three months ago, I introduced a few new folks to TYO: Leila, Adam, Colin and Mathilda. This fantastic four has shared their own passionate blend of stories, skills and knowledge with the Nablus community and TYO since January.

Adam, Mathilda, Leila, and Colin, Spring 2011 interns, representing TYO on the terrace over looking Nablus.

Last week, all too soon, it was time to say farewell as these phenomenal individuals continue along their own paths to affect positive social change at home and abroad. Adam begins law school this fall. Leila begins a Hart Fellowship in June. Mathilda is staying on at TYO to coordinate the Triple Exposure project, and Colin also joins our summer team to coordinate youth activities before beginning a Fulbright fellowship in August.

This was a tremendously talented and incredibly valuable group. They taught classes in leadership and communications, music, English and photography. They set up community English courses and organized an evening soccer league for neighborhood youth. Each week, they shared their stories and experiences on this blog. They will be missed!

Congratulations and farewell, Spring 2011 interns! Thank you so much for your service, efforts and hard work. We wish you the best of luck with all your future endeavors!

- Chelsey

Chelsey is the International Internship Coordinator at TYO Nablus.

Ambassador Melanne Verveer Visits the TYO Center

Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer visited the TYO Center in Nablus on Wednesday, April 20, 2010. Her time at TYO Nablus included a working breakfast with the Fostering Women Entrepreneurs in Nablus (FWEN) participants and its steering committee members,  TYO’s Spring 2011 International Interns and TYO staff as well as an informative tour of the TYO Nablus Center and its programming.

Ambassador Verveer gave remarks at the working breakfast that spoke to the importance of innovation in unlocking the great potential of female leaders within their own communities. TYO’s female entrepreneurs shared their business plans as well as the successes and challenges they encountered over the last year during which many of them successfully launched their businesses. Each FWEN participant received personalized feedback and encouragement from Ambassador Verveer. The four Spring 2011 Interns also introduced themselves and their work at TYO highlighting the overwhelming hospitality they’ve experienced since their arrival and the importance of intercultural exchange and direct engagement between American and Middle Eastern communities.

Ambassador Verveer toured the TYO Center with several TYO staff members and had an opportunity to speak to women serving as volunteers in our MEPI literacy project, university students volunteering in our Core Program classes and our Core Program teachers.

TYO was honored to be on Ambassador Verveer’s itinerary during her three-day trip to the West Bank, Jerusalem and Israel, in which she met with government leaders, civil society leaders and non-government organizations to highlight the work they are doing to promote women’s empowerment.

More photos are on Facebook here and here!

Hip Hop at TYO!

What better way to celebrate the last day of classes than with a performance by the hip-hop dance troupe Dar Al-Fonon from Nablus’s Old Askar Refugee Camp.  Participants in both the Core and Intern Program classes were treated to a multi-faceted show that began with sketch comedy and ended in full blown dance off between the members of Dar Al-Fonon and some of the Volunteer Program’s braver, or at least less self-conscious, participants!

As many TYO’s attendees come from the refugee camps of Nablus, it was doubly thrilling for students who recognized the dancers from their community.  It was furthermore exciting to see a particularly familiar face in the hip-hop project as one of the members is an all-star player for Lyon in the emerging Nablus Premier League.

Sure, our class party was cut a bit short, but with the way my Fifth Graders swung to the music, I can’t imagine a better way to sign off the Spring 2011 semester!

TYO and the National Children’s Museum Celebrate Nablus!

On Saturday April 9, TYO and partner, The National Children’s Museum (NCM), celebrated the 1-year mark of the Launch Zone’s exhibits about Nablus, which has provided communities with incite to children’s lives in the city. Over the past year, Launch Zone visitors from across the United States have learned about Nabulsi food, play, and celebrations through three interactive exhibits created in collaboration between TYO and NCM. Throughout the festive day, families enjoyed delicious Arabic food, arts and crafts activities, and storytelling from around the world.

 

Attendees snacked on delicious Maamoul, Spinach Fatayer, Manaeesh with Zaatar, and Hummus!

In addition, TYO proudly unveiled the Suwarna (Our Pictures) photography exhibit for the fist time in the US! Suwarna is a collection of images taken by the participants in the Triple Exposure Program, a TYO initiative that promotes art education for youth, community access to public art, and a better worldwide understanding of Palestine.

Suwarna Images on display at the Launch Zone

The Suwarna and the Nablus Celebrations exhibits will be displayed at NCM’s Launch Zone at the National Harbor for only a few more weeks. Take advantage of the spring weather with a day at the Harbor and catch them before they’re gone!

The TYO Team sends a special message of gratitude to our friends at NCM for very special day and to all the families who joined in the fun!

 

Stitching a Palestinian design at the Nablus Celebration

 

New Photo of the Week on the Triple Exposure website!

Check out this week’s photo of the week by Triple Exposure photography student Doha, as described by TYO intern Mathilda:

Twelve year old Doha is from Khallet-al Amood, Nablus. Like many of the Triple Exposure kids, she loves to photograph her siblings. She took this photo of her one year old brother, Omar, on the terrace when he was crying out for their mother.

A sneak peak!

“Triple Exposure” is an initiative of Tomorrow’s Youth Organization to promote art education for youth, community access to public art, and a better worldwide understanding of Palestine.

Intern Journal: Climb Every Mountain, Ford Every Stream

The ability of fellow passengers to doze off during the hour service ride between Nablus and Ramallah still confounds me.  Granted, I’m no seasoned commuter, but with about a dozen rides to boast, I still find that I can barely tear my eyes away from the impressive rolling hills long enough to change the track on my iPod.   There is something truly spellbinding about the way those coveted hills glisten, illuminated by the late afternoon sun’s ebbing rays as they subside beyond the ridge.  Yes, when there are no shrieking babies involved, the ride is a serene one, lending itself to introspection and joyful reflection.

Whether the following adventure is to be attributed to these weekly drives or to the breathtaking, expansive view of the Nabulsi hills we daily enjoy from the TYO center is still unclear, but last week we interns were inspired to go “frolic through the hills.”  The weather on Saturday was splendid: a sunny spring day with clear blue skies, perfect for a spontaneous stroll through the wadi.  The valley’s bending stream was to be our sole guide.  It apparently leads all the way to the Wadi Badan village, which was our notional destination as we stepped out of the cab at the edge of the highway and began our descent down to the babbling brook…we never made it to Wadi Badan.

Less than ten minutes into our hike, as we neared the bottom of the ravine and paused to take in the pristine view, there was a rustle 100 meters ahead, and a wild boar bolted out of the brush, racing along our projected path (i.e. the water) to Wadi Badan.  More so to avoid having to constantly cross the stream than to avoid a second encounter with Pumba’s cousin (or so we told ourselves), we decided to continue toward Wadi Badan at higher ground.  About an hour and a number of clumsy hands-first falls into thistle bushes later, we realized that the ascent to reach the mountain’s summit was interminable, and we spent the latter half of the next two hours delicately retracing our steps back to the water. After our four hours of “frolicking”, we found ourselves back on the highway, about a one-minute drive down the road from where we had begun our excursion.

Did we have our Sound of Music moments?—We most definitely did.  Sure, they were interspersed with periods of screeches as we fled away from clusters of spiders and centipedes and with enough run-ins with hostile plants to keep me occupied with splinter removal for the next two days; but each time we stopped to catch our breath or to examine the latest scrape or bruise, there was the inevitable: “Just look at this view!”

-Leila

Leila is an intern at TYO Nablus.

 

Photo of the Day: Parent-Teacher Conferences

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