Women’s Rights Volunteer 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 women’s rights in Palestine will have the opportunity to offer their services in this field and learn a great deal in the process.
For up to five weeks, volunteers enrolled in this program will have the opportunity to organize lectures and workshops on women’s rights and gender equality in Palestine, work with local universities to develop coursework on gender equality, visit NGOs and government ministries working on female empowerment in Palestine, and tackle issues of domestic violence and harassment. Highly qualified volunteers will have the opportunity to meet and work with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs.
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.
While the plight of women and girls in Palestine is nowhere near as bad as some in the West believe, serious challenges still remain. Palestine, like the rest of the Middle East, is still a patriarchal society and while women have the legal right to an education and the right to work outside the home, full access to these opportunities still remains problematic. There are still strong social stigmas in Hebron against reporting domestic abuse or harassment, many girls are married at young ages and must forgo education, and discrimination in the workplace remains. Volunteers, through organizing educational events, will help instill a sense of empowerment in young women and show them that they do not have to accept discrimination. Likewise, you will help inform young men on how to interact with their female colleagues in a healthy and respectful manner and serve as allies who can help defend women against harassment.
In these efforts volunteers will draw heavily on the work and experience of NGOs and international organizations operating in Hebron. Women’s rights are widely accepted in the field of international development as crucial to the health and wellbeing of a society. As such, groups like the United Nations have been working hard to improve the status of women in Palestine. By learning about their work volunteers will not only improve the projects they pursue while in Hebron, they will also improve their own professional repertoire. Employers recognize the value of employees with experience in the field, especially in challenging locations like Palestine. Volunteers are not only helping others, they are helping themselves!
We are excited to welcome a new program (Women’s Rights Volunteer in Palestine) of international volunteers to the Excellence Center. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.