Fostering Young Pride in Palestine
You can hear the dull murmur once you hit the second floor stairwell. With each step, the murmur escalates until you step into the first floor atrium melee and are greeted by nearly 100 little voices, all excited and anxious to start their day. Here, smiles and giggles and eager faces abound.
Every day, preschool-aged children arrive at TYO, travelling by bus from four Nablus-based refugee camps and two disadvantaged Nabulsi neighborhoods. The three hours that our Core Child Morning Program children spend at TYO are often the only opportunity they have in their day to romp, play, and discover. Their personal space is so limited within the camps that they are unable to feel the freedom of fun. Here at TYO, they relish in this freedom to play and learn.
The Core AM children engage in several activities each day emphasizing art, drama, concentration and skill-buiding. This week, our dedicated teachers have fashioned their lessons around the theme of “Our Country, Palestine” – and have provided the very first opportunity for many of our children to learn about their home. The children have proudly displayed their multi-colored Palestinian maps, worked hard to learn names of Palestinian cities and come to appreciate the importance of their country’s place in the world.
Our goal is multi-fold. We aim to heighten our young children’s awareness of the community around them and help them to understand the importance of belonging to that community. We believe that placing this value in community will help to develop our children’s self-confidence and self-worth, in turn, fostering their pride in Palestine.
It is vital that our children experience this sense of pride from an early age. Pride in themselves, pride in their communities, and pride in Palestine. In the TYO Core Morning Program, we set forth to nurture leadership and dignity through the attainment of this pride. Armed with these tools, our children – the future leaders of their communities and country - will cultivate a peaceful and noble Palestine.
Suhad is the Psychosocial Program Manager at TYO in Nablus. This blog was edited by TYO Fall 2013 Intern Jessica.