Meeting People Where They Are: The Success Story of Sujood Bani Odeh


Sujood Bani Odeh is from Tamoun, a village near Jenin. Sujood graduated from Hisham Hijjawi College in 2015 with a degree in Office Administration and enjoys writing poetry and short stories in her free time. Before becoming a volunteer, Sujood would accompany her sister while she volunteered. Having enjoyed the experience and the work TYO was doing, so Sujood decided to become a volunteer herself. She has been a volunteer with the After-school Academic Support for Kids program for one session.

What has your professional experience been like outside of TYO?

I trained with a Palestinian telecommunication company for 6 months while I was studying at university. The training was in the finance department and I worked on databases to fill in information for customers. After the training was finished, I applied for a job with the company, but I am still waiting for a response.

I also volunteered at summer camps in my village where I was in charge art activities for youth. I enjoy participating in volunteer based programs because I have free time and enjoy helping people, especially where I can share my skills.

What is your career plan?

I hope to get a job with a telecommunication company in the future. Work schedules are convenient for my life and I can gain new experiences, be financially independent, and improve skills from working with others. Working at a telecommunication company will let me use my degree depending on which department of the company I work in. I can work in the office, promotions, or field research. I am not particular about what type of daily work I do, but I would like to work for a good company.

What do you look for in a work environment?

I would like a work environment that is a comfortable environment in regards to time, my own space, and clear responsibilities. I would like for it to be quiet and calm without much noise. I am also accepting of feedback, both negative and positive, as this will help me to do my best and improve my skills. I want to feel respected at my place of work.

I wouldn’t mind working with children if the opportunity with a telecommunication company doesn’t work out. I would enjoy working at a kindergarten, but the salary does concern me. However, if a job involved working with children and a good salary, I would be happy to do that work.

What skills have you gained from your time with TYO so far?

After volunteering, I understand children. The class I volunteered with was weak in academic skills and was a mix of different grade levels in the same class. I was able to share my ability of writing with the children and helped them improve their writing skills. I also improved my ability to work with students based on their academic abilities and skills. I learned how to use proper methods with each student based on their need and academic level instead of teaching everyone in the same way.

Personally, I became more confident and less shy. I have higher self-esteem and have the confidence to show my writing to others. The volunteer coordinator encouraged me to share some of my writing with others, so I have decided to share a poem with the academic program volunteers. I have more experience in life and am more able to self motivate and feel confidence grow. I am better prepared to deal with life as a result of my time with TYO.

How has TYO impacted your professional life?

I hope to look for more opportunities without concentrating on just getting work in just one type of company. I will widen the employment search area because maybe there will be more options for work in my future. I won’t give up hope and I can do anything in life if I put my mind to it. Volunteering at TYO improved my professional skills of how to work with people based on their personalities. Volunteering also broke the barriers between me and others. Before volunteering, I was shy and hesitant to share ideas, but now I will express myself and be confident that my ideas will be considered. Even if my idea is simple, I want to share it with others with the hope that at least one person will benefit from my idea.

The Youth Service Learning (YSL) program is part of STEP! II, a youth employability, empowerment, and community leadership initiative supported by Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation.

As a classroom volunteer, Sujood supports the After-School Academic Support for Kids program sponsored by Relief International.

Interview conducted by Lindsey, the International Internship and Fellowship Coordinator, and translated by Rawan, the Women’s Empowerment Program Assistant.