Youth in Focus: An Interview with Ohud D.

Ohud D. is from Nablus. She studied teaching methodology at Al-Quds Open University and graduated in 2013. In addition to volunteering at TYO, she is working on a short-term project offering lectures to children and their moms about health and nutrition. Ohud

What sparked your interest in TYO's Youth Service Learning Program? How did you hear about us?

 I follow TYO on Facebook and often read the posts and news about what is happening at the organization. Through what I saw on Facebook, I saw TYO as a great place to develop my professional skills and gain experience working with children, so I applied to volunteer with the Spring session.

I also have my own business designing early childhood education games and tools. I am very much against the memorization-based approach our education system uses, and I want to develop tools that offer children real learning and critical thinking experiences. I love volunteering at TYO because of their nonformal education approach; it is a great way for me to learn more about nonformal education to develop my business.

What are your career goals, and how will volunteering at TYO help you achieve those?

As mentioned before, I have started a business developing early childhood education tools. My long-term career goal is to grow that business. Volunteering at TYO will help me improve my business, widen my professional network, and learn from people with strong experience in working with children. I want to learn more about young children’s behavior and needs, and I want to better understand the specific challenges of the environment and circumstances in which children in TYO’s target group live. I have already learned so much by observing TYO’s teachers in the classroom.

I am also interested in teaching or working for a larger institution that develops educational tools and games for children so that I can improve my knowledge in that area. As of now, my business does not provide enough income to support myself and my family; I need to find a way to better support myself financially while still learning about my startup's field.

What is the greatest challenge youth like you face in the current labor market?

Personally, it is very difficult for me to find interested clients in the north. Marketing is a major challenge since there are few other businesses here, and most are focused on very local marketing, so it is difficult for me to find bigger marketing channels.

When it comes to applying for jobs, there are real and difficult challenges for young, married woman; many employers are still conservative and prefer to give job opportunities to men or to those who are single. Additionally, many youth my age graduate from Tawjihi and are not aware of the greatest needs in the market before choosing our university major; therefore many join a department and graduate with a degree that is not in high demand for hiring.

What do you think your generation can do to overcome those challenges?

Regarding my business, I think the most important thing is that I believe in myself and do not lose hope or become frustrated by the obstacles I am facing right now.

In general, we need to put in the effort during high school and early in university to learn more about market needs: what fields are most important to study and what skills are most important to develop. For us as women, it is important that we have outstanding experience and skills in order to disprove employers who do not believe we can work at the same level as men.

If there was one skill you wish you had (English, IT, etc.). what would it be and why?

I need to develop my English skills, particularly my conversation skills. I also need to develop a more professional CV and work on my interview skills. I do not want any future employer to have a single excuse not to hire me!

- Interviewed by Futoon Qadri, Outreach Coordinator