Intern Student Profiles: Fall 2012


When I look around my classes for the first time, there are some students that just stand out, and you know they are going to be special. Twelve-year-old Raneem Kibouneh stood out to me. On the first day of our new rotation, I was sitting at a table getting to know some of the students, and I remember meeting Raneem and having her laugh at me because I kept accidentally calling her Raneen (as there is also a girl by that name in the class). She immediately struck me as good-natured and friendly.

This is Raneem’s second year at TYO and she loves to come here because she is an active girl who enjoys games and sports. When I asked what her favorite part of coming to TYO is, she told me it is playing football and other sports. As the critical thinking teacher, we don’t get to play football so much, but Raneem is always up for participating in any activity though she especially loves when we play games at the beginning of class.

Raneem and intern Mary at TYO


In the previous rotation, she was in Tommy’s sports class, where she was in her element. He told me that his favorite memory of her was not of her athleticism but rather of her kindness and generosity. She gave him a rainbow colored hair-tie and insisted that he wear it all the time as a gift from her. And he does wear it as a wristband every day.

Raneem comes from the Khallet Al Amood neighborhood here in Nablus, which is where our center is located, so she often comes early to say hello and hang out before class starts. She clearly sees TYO as a great place to explore her hobbies and herself.


Ayshe Abu Ayyash seemed at first like the type of quiet, reserved girl who we usually struggle with. Most of the shyer girls are uncomfortable working with boys and are hesitant in their own abilities to do new things. But while Ayshe is quiet, she’s anything but a struggle in class. Coming every day from Askar Camp, Ayshe walks into class with a smile on her face and an enthusiasm for learning and doing projects that is always refreshing to see. In school, she tends toward the sciences—her favorite classes being math, computer and science lab, but at TYO, she is an artist at heart.

In the two sessions that she has been here at TYO, her favorite classes have been art and sports, and her favorite activity was making cards for her fellow classmate.

Ayshe’s face lit up with a smile as she described the big red heart she made her card into. She is always eager to show off her projects and accomplishments in class, and is the sort of kid who can find herself alone at a table of all boys and think absolutely nothing of it-- a real rarity here in Nablus.

Ayshe is one of our students from Askar, who is looking forward to being a teacher when she grows up.


At home in Askar Camp, Ayshe spends her time reading. Her love of books, school and TYO has left her excited to be a teacher when she grows up because she likes helping others, and her willingness to work well with anyone has her well on her way.


At TYO, I’ve learned to make note of certain behaviors in class that I think should be addressed by myself or, if the problem is more severe, by Suhad, the Psychosocial Program Manager. However, something I find equally as important is identifying the students who do not have attendance issues, who follow directions, and who always come to TYO and leave TYO with a smile from ear to ear. I’ve had the pleasure of working with a number of these students, but one child who stands out is Montaser Thoqan.

This is Montaser’s first session back at TYO in almost 3 years, and as he explained, a lot has changed. This time he gets to do a sports class, a critical thinking class, and, his favorite, an art class. Montaser explained that he loves how he gets to work on different skills and different classes, skills he doesn’t get to work on in school.

Montaser’s favorite memory at TYO comes from this session in Megan’s art class. In class, he had the opportunity to make paper mache masks from balloons and newspapers. He was so impressed at how he was able to “make something out of nothing.” Outside of TYO, Montaser loves to draw, and he says he would like to pursue painting when he gets out of school. Hopefully TYO can help make that happen.

Montaser loves being a kid, but his respect for his teachers, comfort working with girls, and enthusiasm to give it his all at any game reflects a level of maturity that is far and few between among TYO students. In a society where most students lack the maturity level their age should reflect, Montaser is an anomaly.