Human Rights Project in Palestine: For six years the Excellence Center in Hebron, Palestine has been helping people from around the world volunteer in the West Bank. The vast majority of these volunteers have served as teaching assistants at our private facilities in Hebron, helping Palestinian students improve their fluency in English. This program has been such a success that we have decided to expand our offerings. Now volunteers interested in human rights in Palestine will have the opportunity to offer their services and learn a great deal in the process.
For up to five weeks, volunteers enrolled in this program will have the opportunity to organize workshops for students about human rights and international law, visit the offices of the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) and various NGOs, collaborate with journalism volunteers to produce research on the human rights situation in Palestine, and conduct their own independent research. Volunteers will learn about human rights first-hand in a country in midst of conflict and occupation.
Incoming volunteers will be offered an initial ‘orientation week’ filled with lectures on Palestinian culture and history and introductory classes on colloquial Palestinian Arabic (“Ammiya”). Most female volunteers will be connected with a homestay family in Hebron, giving them a chance to integrate into Palestinian daily life. Most male volunteers will stay at the Excellence Center’s men’s dormitory, situated in the building complex of an extended Palestinian family.
Volunteers will have a unique opportunity to both impart their knowledge to students while expanding their own understanding of human rights in Palestine. Hebron itself is a major flashpoint of conflict between Palestinians and Israeli settlers. This conflict has produced numerous human rights violations over the years and has attracted the attention of the international community. Volunteers and employees of human rights organizations such as the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH), the United Nations, and the Red Crescent frequently come to the Excellence Center for Arabic lessons. Other groups such as Al-Haq and B’Tselem have a presence in or around Hebron. The plethora of professional working to monitor and improve the human rights situation in Palestine gives volunteers a unique opportunity to learn from seasoned professionals in the field. Volunteers will also be given the chance visit the sites of previous clashes such as the Ibrahimi Mosque, Shuhada Street, the village of Susya, and the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
Years of violence and conflict often leave young Palestinians feeling hopeless and surrounded by the rhetoric of warfare. As a volunteer, you will not only be giving knowledge but also hope to these young students. Your presence will show them that the world has not forgotten about the suffering of the Palestinians and many from abroad are willing to come to Palestine to learn and help. You will teach them the inspiring words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of peacemakers and humanitarians who have shaped the world. With this information young Palestinians will discover avenues to cope with their situation and shape their future.