Meet Tomorrow's Youth: Rawan
Rawan Hirzalla, 19, from Zeita, outside of Tulkarem, is a current volunteer in the Core Child Morning Program at TYO. This is Rawan's first session at TYO.
What has been your favorite memory at TYO?
It's my first session at TYO and it’s the third week of the session, so my memories are limited during this short period of time. But so far, I had a favorite moment the other day in the art class when the little girl, Majd from Balata refugee camp, began painting with water colors along with the other children. Majd colored her entire painting with red, as well as her hands. When I asked her why, she answered that she made blood. Immediately I saw deeper into Majd's world of hurt and I quickly tried to make the situation less dark. I explained to her that red is a very beautiful color; that it’s not only the color of blood but there are many other beautiful red things around us like flowers, flags and even her scarf.
Why is volunteering important and why did you decide to volunteer?
I came to TYO by accident, really. I was just accompanying my friend who was willing to volunteer. But I was so excited when I saw the building, the Core Program classrooms, the teachers and the other volunteers. I felt encouraged to try this experience. Also, I love children. They are innocent, their world is beautiful and I love spending two hours of my day with them and surrounding them with love and caring they may not be receiving from their homes.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing Palestinian youth?
The education system in Palestine doesn’t encourage children to succeed and the system hardly even pays attention to them and struggling students fall through the cracks. Kids with academic issues are neglected and instead of paying more attention to them and their needs, children who face academic difficulties drop school and grow up to be youth without a future or career to support their lives.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I am a young person whose family didn’t have the chance to support me financially and send me to university. Once I finished my high school, I stayed at home, completely jobless. I'm hoping to get good experience working with young children from TYO, and plan to look for a job at a daycare in my village. I also hope to have my own children to raise them as good members in the community.
How do you think what you’ve learned at TYO will benefit you in the long run?
I feel that TYO is the only hope in my life. It’s the only source of knowledge and experience I have. I had no certificates or degree so I could not find work any place. But TYO opened its doors to me and has already taught me much about early childhood education. My work here will assist me in finding a job in the future and also guide me in raising my future children with the same kind of love, passion and encouragement I have seen people at TYO approach children.
This interview was translated by TYO's Outreach Coordinator, Futoon Qadri.