Human Supporters accomplished and Ruining Projects
Human Supporters Association detected itself for a grassroots, we develop psycho-educational and Psycho-social projects and intercultural programs, our targeted groups are children, youth and women and from 7-18 years old, after that they became a volunteers in the association and Participate in special programs , all our activities are gender balanced (50% Male .50% female ) , we do all our programs as the following :
1. Art, sportive and cultural program
Human Supporters Association believes it is essential to provide a place for the youth where they can express themselves freely through sports, visual art, music, and dance. The primary aim is to offer the Youth of Nablus the provision of appropriate and equal opportunities for cultural, artistic, recreational and leisure activities. Art teaches us to think more openly and empathetically towards other people’s feelings. Furthermore, art promotes self-esteem and helps the children to solve a problem in a creative way as well as showing them there’s more than one solution for a problem. This is a successful and well love scheme and HSA has run these projects in the past.
i. Art, drama, and dance laboratories
With this project 60 children (boys and girls) are attending art, drama, and dance twice a week for three hours at HSA’s centre. The volunteers of HSA try to help them find an alternative in dealing with their situation through different activities and by working together in groups.
a) Art Laboratories: 4 art laboratories (for 24 months/1 lab for 6 months) will be organized within the project and addressed to 60 children and youth aged (8-13 years old). Art laboratories will be conducted by volunteers of Human Supporters at the HSA Centre and will be delivered by 1 Human Supporters Association Volunteer.
b) Drama Laboratories: 4 drama laboratories (for 24 months/1 lab for 6 months) will be organized within the project and addressed to 60 children and youth (13-18 years old). Drama laboratories will be coordinated and delivered by 1 volunteer of Human Supporters at HSA Centre and will be supported by volunteers from the Freedom Theatre of Jenin.
c) Dance Laboratories: 4 dance laboratories (for 24 months/1 lab for 6 months) will be organized within the project and addressed to 60 children and youth (8-13 years old). Dance laboratories will be coordinated and delivered by 1 volunteer of Human Supporters at HSA Centre.
ii. Dabkeh band and Dabkeh school
HSA offer permanent dance training of the Palestinian Folkloric dance ’’Dabkeh’ for a group of teenagers aged between 13 – 17 years old. After practicing they perform a cultural traditional dance and different kinds of performances in the country and outside , our group went several time to Participate in the youth exchanges in some European countries, Human Supporters and its French partner organization offer in addition international exchange for the children. 15 members of the Dabkeh band participated therefore in a French youth camp and got the opportunity to present the Palestinian culture and its dance through several shows , as well they went to Participate in youth exchange in Italy in Rome and they did a street show and perform in some theaters .
iii. Hip-hop band and Dance
We give hip-hop training for groups of children who are interested and during the lessons they will record their own song and create it. As well a group of children dance a especial raport dance ,The name of the band is Dance boys ,They have twice a week training and takes place in a special dance room in the Association that created spicily for them in the year of 2015,they are participating in several event and shows and going to attend a youth exchange in Italy and perform all what they have trained about and share their experience with the others .
iv. Music band and music school
Human Supporters has a specific music room with different kinds of instruments such as the tabla, oud, violin, drums and guitar – prepared especially for the talented youth of the centre and have also established a music band called itself (Ahel Elmaghna). By using simple instruments the psychologists do therapeutical sessions with children who have traumatic experiences caused by the occupation. Thereby, a regular group of 15 children are taking the course twice a week by one of the volunteers ,in this course children learn new songs and perform it later , the band of music is very active locally and well known internationally
2. Psycho-educational program
The children and youth identified as HSA’s target group are psychologically affected by the occupation resulting in low-learning achievement, scarce ability to concentrate, anxiety, nightmares, low self-esteem, aggressive behaviour, and phobias. Consequently, in order to meet psychosocial needs of the target group as well as providing them with adequate learning methods and education, different psychosocial supporting programs are needed. Human supporters have run four focused campaigns to address this issue.
i. Voice of Kids
The Voice of Kids program is dedicated to gaining awareness of the traumatic experiences of young people growing up in and around Nablus under the present occupation. The program uses a political and psychological approach to build trust and restore confidence in our young people. The program combines all our work methods and beliefs in four distinct phases:
Phase 1 – The aim has been to create an alternative and trusting environment within the group while giving the kids the opportunity to express their emotions and feelings and to reflect upon themselves and others. During this stage, the members have begun to get to know each other and try to identify the goals they will aim to achieve by the end of the project. The hope is for the group to become friends and work on establishing solidarity and tolerance amongst each other. Whilst in the workshops, the group facilitators help the kids to express their emotions and feelings by thinking and reflecting upon themselves and the political and social situation in which they live.
Phase 2 – The Voice of Kids team has learned how to take responsibility through the preparation of projects that are decided at the beginning of the second phase. The children have to answer questions such as; what do you like? What don’t you like? How can you change what you don’t like? These questions empower the group to express themselves and make the group feel useful and helpful in their society. It achieves the goal of making the kids go past their frustrations related to the context of Palestine in order to build up a new and alternative way of making positive actions.
Phase 3 – During this third working phase, the kids became real young journalists. The group are supplied with the critical tools that enable them to analyse the media and news concerning social or political issues. This stage gives them the opportunity to interview the people around them to get other perspectives and gives them full responsibility for their own work. Through this process, the children are finally able to learn how to write precisely about their thoughts and emotions.
Phase 4 – The final stage represents the results of all the work completed during first year by the Voice of Kids team. In the last few months, the team has gathered the articles they have written and created a magazine in order to publish it. Cooperation is key when facing the many unforseen difficulties and problems that may appear in this phase – this is one of the fundamental capacities in the Voice of Kids team spirit. The magazine is the first physical proof for the children of what they are able to do. They show with pride all the work and endeavour of the whole year to their families, friends and relatives. Added to this, the Voice of Kids program spreads out their achievements, questions and thoughts to the local and international community, letting their voices be heard all around the world.
ii. Human Right Theatre Project
On the educational level, children will learn with a Human Rights focus, relevant to the Palestinian context. This will involve the freedom of expression, including freedom of religion, right to education; right to work; gender equality, etc. On psychological level Human Supporters Association believes in a social/political approach meaning that you cannot deal with the traumatic experiences lived by the children without taking into account the context. This project aims to help children to cope with their frustration through providing them with tools of protection and alternatives to violent struggle. By empowering the children to have a positive and constructive reaction, this project will participate in building a better Palestinian society. The main objectives of the project are to empower young people to feel entitled to demand change, and to actively participate in their society; to diffuse the tendency of young people to channel frustration into violence by giving them practical tools to make change in their lives; to promote human rights as a tool for analysing social and political problems in Palestine, and to encourage critical reflection on human rights and the role of the International Institutions, to promote respect and equality between different social groups and religions in Palestinian society; to enable young people to teach human rights widely by performing to schools (including teachers and peers) and their society broadly.
Stage 1 – Preparatory stage
During the preparatory stage a Human Rights seminar of 30 hours, addressed to the staff, will be implemented. The seminar will be led by an HR expert, and will be the opportunity for the staff to discuss and deepen Human Rights pedagogy skills. Additionally the Preparatory stage will include 30 hours of theatre TOT delivered by an expert.
Stage 2 – Trust and respect-building activities
Trust and respect-building activities through theatrical techniques (breathing, trusting partners, etc.) to create a trusting environment which enables young people to reflect on conformity and diversity; to make youth express them freely; to build friendship and trust; to begin discussing the respect of others, including how to approach and respect diversity and difference; and to build respect within the group, including respect for physical and moral integrity.
Stage 3 – Seven short plays
Children will be divided into 7 different groups and required to prepare a play on a chosen HR focus. The representation will be subject to debates, propositions and suggestions of the children, opening the third stage. This stage serves to introduce participants to the human rights areas covered in the theoretical stage through real-life, everyday situations in Palestine and parable-style stories.
Stage 4 – Learning and action taking
Children will at first receive HR lectures answering to the short plays prepared during the second stage. For a second time the children will be asked to take action regarding those rights at an internal (personal level) and at an international level (e.g. contacting International Institutions)
Stage 5 – Write or adapt existing theatre plays and preparation
This stage is a concretisation of the fundamental HR of expression. Children will chose a subject, write the play and prepare their performance.
Stage 6 – Performing and diffusing the play
Children will perform their play in front of the different actors of their society. The play will be performed in schools and theatres in different cities across the West Bank.
Stage 7 – Video montage and diffusion
During the entire project, a video will be recorded witnessing the different stages of the project. The production of a video will widely spread out the voice of the children, their expression, their achievements, questions and thoughts to the local and the international community.
iii. Summer Camp “Living together”
The summer camps aim to allow the young people of Nablus: Muslims, Christians, and Samaritans to live their lives without worrying about the war, occupation, or violence. The project focuses on the child’s needs and responds through socio-cultural animation. The aim of this project is to maintain and to perpetuate the idea of the “live together” concept and improve communication, despite the occupation playing on the division of the community, which always lived together in Nablus.
During two weeks, children will share the richness of their different cultural backgrounds and view their society and city differently. Similar to the previous year, the daily schedule of the children will be structured to facilitate dialogue, communication, sharing, and happiness. The days will be divided into 2 parts: group activities during the morning including manual crafts, drama, sports, writing, psychological workshops and music. During the afternoon, one large activity will be organised such as a cinema showing, aquatic games, tournament, public garden, or a visit to the old city of Nablus. Children will get in touch with their city and community, to see, touch and use all their senses in getting familiar with the place they lived in all of their lives and still to be able to see it through the eyes of their friends of other religions who love it just as much. Each workshop will represent a sequence of creativity and self-expression since each child will have the chance to be a unique part of the workshop and its activities. This could be turned into something tangible at the final show. The method is based on helping the children to explain their feelings and emotions in order to avoid the emotional closure and in the worst case the incoming syndromes. We believe that everything that happens outside has a reflection on the inside. Our body, as a unique system with heart, mind, and soul needs to be expressed. When it doesn’t work, we create an “unfinished business”, which has to be solved. The more time that passes without dealing with this “unfinished business”, the more difficult it will be to solve. Therefore, practice makes perfect – what better time to teach ourselves how to deal with all the changes around us than the age of childhood. That is our mission and goal of the “Living Together” Summer camp, to bring out the best in those children, to bring them together as Palestinians, to prepare them for the world of tomorrow by helping them get through the world of today, and to bring them and us joy reflected by the smile on their faces throughout the camp.
iv. Puppet project
This project was born during a summer 2010 meeting, after a trainer’s workshop on the theme of puppets to the entire HSA (Human Supporters Association) educative team. This experience was much appreciated, and the enthusiasm created by this workshop immediately demonstrated the potential such a tool could have in the development of our psycho-educative projects. HSA’s method is indeed based on the interaction with the support or media used, the dynamism of which helps to overcome the child’s trauma. According to the educational method of this project, each puppet is the product of a personal construction, material as well as psychological. Fabricated with scraps and pieces, the puppet speaks freely, communicates with the others, and goes beyond the inhibitions of the person who is carrying it.
Stages of the project:
1. Construction of the theatre and fabrication of the puppets:
The first month of the project will be dedicated to the symbolic and material construction of the group and its organization. The fabrication of the puppets will be an opportunity for the group members to meet as well as an inducement to teamwork and to individual empowerment. The creation of the puppet will be divided into different stages; first, the head and the nose, second the face, the hair and the robe. Then children will learn the puppet’s mechanisms and build the puppet theatre. The objective of this stage is to build the communication media in a fun way, and build trust between the different members of the group as well.
2. Puppet play, discussions:
The second stage will be an occasion for the children to speak up and exchange on the following subjects chosen by the educator, such as games, music and dance, discussions about school, food, hygiene, environment or violence and conflicts. The last two sessions will be prepared by the educators according to the desire expressed by the children during the discussions. The goal of this stage is to learn to master the puppet as a tool. It is also a situation where educative questions will be seen as interactive, allowing the children to express their questions and their needs.
3. Producing four little puppet theatre plays:
Every group will have to build a story collectively. At the start, the basic rules of a story will be explained to the children through examples displayed by the educators:
Starting point: character exposition (including the relevant features of each one of them), spatial exposition
Perturbation: an event or a character changes the initial situation
Action: adventures, trials
Resolution: an action solves the problem
Ending point: the characters are back into a stable situation, with a happy or unhappy ending
This stage intends on letting the creativity of the children express itself, on letting them tell the story they want to while giving them the tools they need to communicate this story to others. They will have occasions to write about different issues more or less related to them. Writing induces and facilitates teamwork, respect, initiative and listening skills.
4. Final show (rehearsals and actual show):
The children will show their final work to their friends, parents and teachers to promote the work they have done. The children will be in charge of the organization of the show with the support of their educator. Showing the four plays is a way to bring interrogations and reflexion within the whole society. It is a way to bring out fears and interests of the children. Moreover it will validate the work accomplished by the children during the previous seven months.
3. Educational program
Although Nablus has made education a top priority, the educational domain is facing unprecedented difficulties. These difficulties have occurred especially after the Al Aqsa Intifada, leading to an increase in school dropouts and illiteracy – particularly affecting the female population. Many students have low school achievements mostly due to repeated instances of direct or indirect exposure to traumatic experiences resulting in stress, poor ability to concentrate, and low self-esteem. The average class size in 2009 was measured to be 35 students. These large class sizes, in combination with many children that need extra attention, make it impossible for the teachers to give the students the required attention. Therefore, the Human Supporters Association believes it is highly necessary to supply extra school support, and inform the children on the importance of receiving their diploma. In addition to this, Human Supporters Association would like to reduce the problem of illiteracy among the entire population of Nablus, and therefore provides weekly literacy classes to the illiterate. To achieve this HAS have run many projects.
i. Literacy classes
Human Supporters Association launched a three years project in 2009 called: Promoting children, youth, women Education and psychological wellbeing in Nablus, Old City): This project is funded by the European Union, and carried out in cooperation between Human Supporters Association and CISS (Cooperazione Internazionale Sud Sud). This project is crosscutting as HSA keeps a psycho-educational approach in teaching methodology.
Target groups are: 750 children and youth, needing psychological and educational support, aged 6-18 and their families, mainly from the Old City of Nablus (50% of them will be women). The participation of children and youth from the rest of the city, villages and refugees’ camps and from the three communities (Muslim, Christian and Samaritan) will also be encouraged. Furthermore 100 illiterate women aged between 25-45 years are also part of our target group. Final beneficiaries will be 3000 families, mainly living in the Old City of Nablus.
There are 80 psychologists and educators identified as HSA volunteers, which consist of students of the Faculty of Psychology or Education at the Al Najah and Al Quds Universities, psychologists, educators and social workers already experienced in the field of education and psychosocial support, child protection and women empowerment. At least 15% of the trainees will be composed by institutional employees working in the field of education and psycho-social assistance.
The overall objective of the action proposed is to:
Reduce the poverty among children, youth and women in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) by expanding their education opportunities and promoting their psychosocial wellbeing, rights, and participation. The specific objective aims to improve psychosocial well-being and education of children, youth and women affected by the occupation in the Old City of Nablus.
By implementing the aforementioned activities the program will contribute in strengthening and improving the ability of the target groups to cope with crises and to display culturally defined pro-social behaviour. Children, youth, and women have been identified as the most marginalized groups of the Palestinian population affected by the occupation. Appropriate response mechanisms should not only ensure the basic needs of women and children, but also recognize societies and youths active and their vital part in the process of recovery which may equip them to take greater control over their lives in the long terms. The action proposed intends to promote children, youth, and women’s psychosocial wellbeing, rights, and participation through education response. Education can help meet the psychosocial needs of the targeted groups and is a human right, promoting personal development and preparedness for responsible citizenship. Moreover education provides a channel for developing skills for conflict resolution and peace-building and is needed to prepare for reconstruction, and socio-economic development and integration:
Literacy courses will be addressed to 100 dropouts, aged 13-18 years old, and 100 illiterate women, aged 25-45 years old. Literacy courses are an expedient means to reach out to those youth that have either never been to school or dropped out from the formal schooling system. They are also effective in correcting gender imbalances caused by the proportionally lower enrolment of girls in the formal school system. Each literacy session will last 6 months for a total of 4 sessions of 432 classes. Each session consists of 36 classes for each learning group (women, children and youth 1st level, children and youth 2nd level) for a total of 108 classes/6 months (3 courses/3 times per week). The beneficiaries will be divided in different groups according to specific learning needs. The provision of literacy activities will be anticipated by a preliminary test submitted to all participants in order to assess learning needs. Participants will be requested to take a final test to attest learning achievements. A certification of attendance will be delivered to all participants to encourage them.
Child to child tutoring – support
Child-to-child tutoring is a tool to help children achieve better results at school and reduce the level of dropout rates. Tutoring will be addressed to 400 low achieving children aged between 6-9 years. There are 3 different levels according to the age group and school in the following subjects: Arabic, English, and mathematics.
9 classes will be offered each week for 24 months. The classes will be held at the HSA centre and will be delivered by 2 educators/tutors trained through the project. Preferences will be given to children living in the Old City, taking into consideration that a large number of households of the Old city are not able to provide children an appropriate space for studying. Bi-monthly meetings between Human Supporters’ Educator/Psychologist and the parents of the targeted group will support and monitor learning achievements and the psychosocial well-being of the children.
ii. School support
A lot of children need educational support; thus our 6 members teach English, Arabic, and math classes for all the families who request help so their children get the chance to study: active volunteers of Human Supporters Association support the teachers during the lessons and help them, in addition to organizing the lessons. Every six months our teachers are tutoring 100 children aged between 7-9 years old of the primary grades.The aim is to promote children through non-formal education, which increase the educational opportunities for children, and their integration into the practical learning.
Workshops on environmental issue and health and nutrition
The 6 workshops will be addressed to all children and Youth involved in sport activities and artistic laboratories and their families. Health care and nutrition workshops will be delivered as well as environment workshops. The children will reinforce their knowledge of the associative environment and its potential in the area. The workshops will be held at the Human Supporters Association centre.
iii. Workshops on Human Rights
Our organization took part in 30 hours of training to specialize and deepen different aspects of Human Rights. During this workshop, the 3 officers of Human Supporters, the team of the Human Rights Theatre Project, and the volunteers of the organization worked together with three other organisations. These organisations shared their knowledge about human rights during the training: Defence for Children International (DCI), Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) and BADIL Resources Centre.
The aim of this workshop was to develop the Knowledge of our team in the large field of Human Rights in order to feel comfortable with teaching the children the Human Right Theatre Project (HRTP) and the basics of the subject. The main topics during this workshop were: the universal declaration of human rights, convention on the rights of the child, the history law of the Palestinian occupied territories (POT), the Palestinian refugees, gender equality, the labour law and education. The workshop started with the general international law and focused gradually on the specific Palestinian law. During the Workshop our team learned how to transmit the values of Human Rights and how to teach law to the children and the Youth in a simplified manner.
iv. International Exchanges
Human Supporters Association is also familiar with receiving international delegations who are interested in getting to know more about the Palestinian situation. HSA provide them with a guided tour in the Old city with information about the history of the place, people, and life conditions during the repeated invasions. It opened the possibility to defend the Palestinian culture and to inform the people about given political realities as well as living under constant occupation. Furthermore, it is a good way to develop a network abroad.
v. Language classes
Monthly French and English classes are held in the association for around 15 beneficiaries by professional volunteers and other interested people. These courses are for children, teenagers, university students and any other interested members of the community.
v. European Voluntary service :
We do this Project through Erasmus+ program that offers young people the chance to make a difference through the European Voluntary Service.
The European Voluntary Service (EVS) gives young people the opportunity to express their personal commitment through full-time voluntary work in a foreign country within or outside the EU.
The EVS aims to develop solidarity, mutual understanding and tolerance among young people, while contributing to strengthening social cohesion and promoting active citizenship. Their learning experience is formally recognized through a Youth pass . Volunteers receive free board and lodging, insurance cover and a grant for the duration of the project (in some cases they may be asked for a contribution for travel costs).
v. Strengthening oriental and European artistic links between young musicians and dancers from the west bank and the Gaza strip (voices and bridges project )
v. Football team
Volunteers of our Organization offer football training twice a week for 15 children aged between 8-12 years in order to stimulate their participation and to improve their capacity for teamwork. It’s a physical training to improve their football skills and continuously we also have matches together with teams from other organizations.
vi. Football, table tennis, and volleyball
These are the main sportive activities which will be played within the Palestinian society. Through offering football, table tennis and volleyball the children have the opportunity to play in their free time. Everyone who likes to play can join the sportive activities because it’s an open area for every child living in Nablus.
4. Self-sustainability program
Although Human supports is eager to work with institutions it also realises that the other continuous projects need constant funding and thus one of the other aims is to publish and distribute the cookbook to bring in a steady income and also spread the traditions, culture and trouble of Palestine to the world.
The cook book in French, English and Italian:
HSA’s cook book spreads the knowledge of Palestinian culture and emulates the defence of a Palestinian cultural identity. The cookbook invites you to discover the secrets of the Palestinian cuisine through many recipes and tips. In the Palestinian culture, food is like a ritual and the recipes are regarded as ‘secrets’ which you only share with your family.
It is said that the Palestinian food is the soul of the house. The cook book therefore offers the opportunity to get closer to the traditional cuisine and you will also gain a deeper insight into the Palestinian culture. Therefore the keeper of the families’ secretes share their heritage with us.
The cook book took two years to create and was a family project. It contains an assemblage of different authentic recipes and culinary characteristics of the Palestinian cuisine. An essential aspect is the availability of ingredients – thus you are able to cook in the cycle of the seasons and the food selection is furthermore influenced on geographical locations. There is the possibly of expanding the range of products sold however the cookbook is the first product to market as it brings with it not only consumer gain but also the message we aim to get across.