- Project Hope Palestine
dablink|This article is about the international non-governmental organization in Palestine. For the international healthcare organization based in the United States see
Project HOPE USA. For the Chinese service project see Project Hope.
Project HOPE, Humanitarian Oppurtunities for Peace and Education, is a grass-roots humanitarian organization providing educational, recreational and medical relief to children in
Nablusand surrounding refugee camps and villages in the West Bankof the Occupied Palestinian Territories. While this volunteer, non-profit organization is registered in Canada and Britain, its activities bring together local Palestinian volunteers with international volunteers from all over the world. According to its website [http://www.projecthope.ps/] , Project Hope is "committed to the principles of international humanitarian law and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, [their] aim is to support children denied access to basic services by providing educational and recreational activities, medical and humanitarian relief and practical training that can empower them with hope and skills for the future."
Language Classes: English
Project Hope offers English language classes from beginning to advanced levels; for young children as well as young adults. In addition, Project Hope organizes advanced level English classes for specific purposes in order to solidify "cultural competency" for the language learner. Topics in these advanced English language have included business administration, politics and poetry. According to Project Hope, English language skills are important to the youth of Palestine, not only because it allows greater communication between Palestinians and the wider world, but because of the economic benefits that come with English proficiency. "English is often used as the primary tongue at the post-secondary level, and many university scholarship opportunities hinge on the ability to speak English. Many jobs require English language proficiency and hold interviews in English. In a country with over 50% unemployment, this makes English invaluable." [http://www.projecthope.ps/projects/english.html]
English, then, is of great importance to the aspiring young journalists and human rights lawyers who may want to obtain advanced degrees either in Palestine or abroad, and then use their education to the benefit of their society. However, just as important for the young children studying English in the refugee camps around Nablus, is the positive and relaxed environment that English language classes provide. As compared to the overcrowded UN schools, Project Hope classes are able to give special attention to students who need it most, giving students the confidence to express themselves freely.
Language Classes: French
The principles behind the French classes offered by Project Hope are much the same as those for the English classes. The classes are meant to be about fun, personal development, and practical use of the language. Our focus is more on actual communication than grammar rules. French classes help Palestinians to better communicate with people from other cultures. Communication enhances dialogue and understanding, and leads to positive cooperation. The language classes also provide people with something fun and social to do. They are a positive and constructive way for people to express themselves.
Like English, knowledge of French also carries certain economic benefits and opportunities. French can be useful for employment, scholarship opportunities, and for communication with French speaking countries and organizations. [http://www.projecthope.ps/projects/french.html]
Other Language Classes
Project Hope does not normally provide language classes other than in English and French. However, they have on occasion in the past provided classes in languages such as Spanish and Italian.
Cultural and Recreational Activities
Project Hope has provided a number of different art projects in the past, all of which have aimed at using art not only as a means of expression but as a form of healing. Art is a therapeutic means by which the creation or viewing of art is used to help people discover and express their feelings. Unlike art for art's sake, which focuses on the finished piece,
art therapyfocuses on the process of creation itself. The activity is undertaken primarily for its healing benefits rather than for the creative end result.
The art classes that Project Hope has conducted have ranged from traditional painting and drawing workshops to digital photography classes, all with an emphasis on creative and therapeutic expression. Furthermore, Project Hope's art classes have often been carried out in conjunction with international art therapy projects. The
Near East Cultural and Education Foundation (NECEF)of Canada assisted Project Hope with a project in which students were able to learn new skills that enable them to draw, without coaching, concepts such as love, fear, peace and anger, thereby giving participants the tools to express themselves and to give them the space to feel free to liberate their personal representation of reality - their hopes and their fears.
In addition to cooperation with the NECEF, Project Hope has also participated in international arts projects through the
International Children's Art Program (ICAP). International Children's Art Program (ICAP) is an international network of art groups for children aged 7-12. Through suggesting universal themes to children from many different countries and continents, it aims to create a collection of art works that reflects the similarities and differences in the institutions that are most familiar to all children in the world. "My family," "My day," "The perfect day" and "My city/town" are themes that are easy to approach for children from different cultures. The exhibitions then rotate in all the collaborating institutions in all the countries. Project Hope has so far collaborated with groups in Barcelona, Spain; New York City, USA; the Amazons, Brazil; Finland; Namibia; and other groups in Palestine. [http://www.projecthope.ps/projects/art.html]
In addition to recreational and therapeutic art classes, Project Hope has also provided recreation and therapeutic expression opporunties through the medium of drama. Activities in drama classes range from physically active drama games, to medatative relaxation and concentration exercises, to the creation of short skits and plays. According to the Project Hope website:
"Plays are the creation of the children involved. They are given full freedom of expression and are encouraged to tackle any subject they feel is interesting or important. The children write, edit and act out their ideas. Palestinian and international adult volunteers act as guides during the creative process. The classes relieve pent up frustration, use expression to cope with the violent circumstances and build self-confidence. These creative efforts are a means for the children to express themselves to a wider audience" [http://www.projecthope.ps/projects/drama.html] .
Drama workshops have also been carried out by Project Hope in conjunction with local and international circus groups such as the Palestinian Spacetoons Circus and Cabuwazi [http://www.cabuwazi.de/] , from Germany. These workshops provided children with some much needed fun and recreation in a safe environment, and, as with all such projects, helps to build confidence in the children.
The Project Hope penpal program connects kids and youth from around the world allowing them to share their thoughts, culture and emotions with one another, all while making new friends. This not only allows students to put into practice the language skills they acquire in Project Hope language classes, but it is also a positive means of promoting dialogue. This is a valuable learning experience that helps expose the participants to the global village. Penpal exchanges may take place via regular letter mail or the Internet.
Secondary Level English Proficiency test
* [http://www.projecthope.ps/ Project Home Website]
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