Youth in Focus: An Interview with Noor A.
What made you interested in TYO's Youth Service Learning Program? Have you volunteered elsewhere before?
I have volunteered with a few other organizations before. An Najah requires all students to complete community service hours before graduating, so during university I had volunteered with the Red Crescent assisting at an elderly home and I had also volunteered teaching Arabic in a public school. However, when I reached my last year in university and began looking for work as graduation grew closer, I realized that I needed even more experience as a fresh graduate entering the job market. One of my mentors at An Najah advised me to apply to volunteer at TYO.
What do you hope to do as a career and how do you think volunteering at TYO will help you?
I want to work in education. Originally, as much as I enjoyed working with children, I was very anxious about it. I was worried about teaching and dealing with very young children in the right way; they are so sensitive and complex at that age, so teaching them is a huge responsibility. TYO certainly increases volunteers’ self-confidence by fully engaging us in classroom activities, helping us develop our personalities and trust with the children, and encouraging and empowering us to bring new ideas and activities to class.
What is the greatest challenge for youth like you in the current labor market?
Our lack of work experience, as well as the pervasiveness of wasta, discourages many youth and often makes us feel that our four years of university are not valuable at all when applying for jobs. You see many youth who drop out of university as soon as they find work because they do not believe that their diploma will make a difference in the job market.
What do you think your generation can do to overcome that challenge?
I have not lost hope in finding a job because I believe that my generation of Palestinians can and should make the change in our lack of experience and how employers view our abilities. I always try to make use of my free time by learning something useful or volunteering in order to build my knowledge base and professional network.
If there was one skill you wish you had (English, IT, etc) what would it be and why?
I want to speak English fluently and be able to hold a conversation, since that is the biggest demand in the labor market. I was very interested in working with TYO’s international interns as a way to work closely with native English speakers. This session, I am working with the morning early childhood education program but hope to work with the Intern program in the future.
- Interviewed by Futoon Qadri, Outreach Coordinator