Meet the Students Against Junk Food: Roula and Dima

Roula Khatatbah and Dima Nasasrah, both 14 years old and in ninth grade, are from Beit Furik, a small village near Nablus, Palestine. Roula enjoys writing, reading and cultural discussions. Dima enjoys singing, reading, and spending time on the computer. Roula and Dima are a Youth Action Local Leadership Alliance (YALLA) recipients, a youth-led civic engagement program. We sat down with both of them to learn more about them and their initiative, Campaign Against Junk Food.

How did you hear about Tomorrow’s Youth Organization and YALLA?

We heard about TYO through the Ishraq Association, a local NGO, and we found out about YALLA project through the applications distributed in our school.

What’s your initiative?

It’s called Campaign Against Junk Food. Because of the many diseases and health problems caused by unhealthy food in our schools, we decided to take a positive step towards this important issue. We'll raise awareness for students and their parents with cleverly designed posters that show the harmful effects of unhealthy food. Moreover, we will set meetings with parents, teachers and principals in schools to further extend our efforts.

Did you expect to be one of the three winners and that your initiative would be chosen for funding?

No! We didn’t expect to be one of the winners because we were the youngest participants in the project and all the other initiatives were very important and improving the community in many ways. But we kept the hope in our hearts and we didn't have any doubts that our initiative would solve a big problem plaguing many communities. So from the beginning we aimed to overcome this issue and we will approach any challenge we face with determination and strength.

Do you think being students in a local high school in a small village helps you to implement your initiative?

Definitely. Being students means being close to the target area we are trying to reach -other students. Also, we took many health classes at school, which has helped us a lot to know more about healthy food and the benefits that come with eating them.

Do you think your initiative will help target the teenagers in your community, and not just young children?

We can't say yes or no, but we can confidently say that our initiative will be publicly displayed and can be the key that any teenager can use to lead a healthier lifestyle.

-Mohammad and Roula

Mohammad and Roula are YALLA Communication Officers and members of the YLC.