Youth in Focus: An Interview with Bashaer K.

Bashaer Khdair is from Jamaeen, a neighboring village of Nablus. She is currently studying Mathematics Teaching Methods at An Najah University. Bashaer

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

My friend was a volunteer at TYO and always talked to me about her experiences with the early childhood education program. I loved what I heard about the program, and I also wanted to teach that age after graduating, so I thought it would be a great way to gain real experience in the classroom. I have to say, I was nervous at first; I know working with children is not easy, and I was not sure that I would succeed. However, after I started volunteering, I quickly gained the respect and trust of students in my class and felt confident to continue.

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

After graduating, I plan to teach in a private school in Nablus. Volunteering at TYO has helped me learn many techniques – particularly how to teach through play – that will help me as a future teacher.

More importantly, TYO has taught me commitment and confidence in my ability – as a woman, and as someone from a village – to change my community. Before TYO, I was not a very committed person; I would skip university lectures, miss assignments in school, and in general not give enough attention to my studies. However, TYO helped me realize the important responsibility I have towards my community to study well, move ahead in my career, and give back. TYO gives all volunteers an essential role in class, and I always think twice before missing a single day. Having that responsibility made me feel valuable as a woman in a way I had never felt before, and also capable of improving my community.

What is the greatest challenge youth like you face in the current labor market? What can your generation do to overcome that challenge?

Youth my age are too focused on attending university and getting a diploma as their only way of accessing the job market. We do not have the foresight to begin building out work and practical experience during university to help us when we start looking for jobs. Too often, university students start thinking about their careers only when they graduate, and therefore they are not prepared. Because of the political and economic challenges here, we need to be even better prepared to compete in the job market. We need to take more individual responsibility to develop our skills for the job market, especially the skills university does not teach us.

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

There are many skills I want to develop, but particularly English because it is in biggest demand in the job market. I also want to improve my communication, leadership, and other soft skills so I can be ready to take advantage of any job opportunity that comes my way.

- Interviewed by Futoon Qadri, Outreach Coordinator