Building a Culture of Volunteerism in Palestine
In recent years, many non-governmental organizations in Palestine, including TYO, have increased programming in the field of youth service learning and volunteerism. There has been an influx of internationals coming to Palestine to volunteer, but now we are seeing more and more Palestinian youth participate as well. However, Palestine still struggles with volunteerism for three reasons - social, economic, and lack of awareness. Frequently, Palestinian youth are unaware of the benefits and importance of voluntary work on both the personal and societal level. Volunteerism benefits the community as a whole while also empowering youth to feel active and engaged. But because many of Palestine's youth are unaware of the benefits of volunteering for themselves, they have little motivation in participating in voluntary work.
Many youth do not consider volunteering due to economic reasons. Because of high unemployment rates in Palestine, many young people don't even consider volunteerism because it has no financial incentive. What they don't realize is that increasing their professional skills through volunteerism can ensure that they are marketable for what jobs are available which subsequently will stimulate the economy and improve conditions in the country.
TYO is making this possible by showing our young volunteers the realities of people living in disadvantaged areas and refugee camps, as well as including them in hands-on activities for the betterment of the community. Community activities such as trash pick-up, park cleaning, and field days for children throughout the West Bank allow youth to see the needs of people with their own eyes.
A community that embraces the culture of volunteerism is necessary in creating a sustainable future for Palestine.
Ahmad is the Volunteer Coordinator