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Human Rights in Palestine – Amazing girls find amazing solutions

Girls find solutions to human rights issues in Palestine In March I had the opportunity to visit one of our partners, Refaat Sabbah, Director of the Teacher Creativity Centre (TCC) in Ramallah, Palestine.  It was a really wonderful visit, both because it was great to see Refaat but also to get an update on the work that they have been doing.  Today I received a further update and was so blown away I knew I needed to write about it! As part of a project called “Yes She Can!”, TCC staff took Equitas materials on civic engagement and participation to a class of grade 9 girls in the Deir al Ammar refugee camp to discuss how they could be more involved in decision making in their community. Not only were the girls very keen – their excitement spilled over to another group, prompting yet another class of grade 9 girls to join the project.  In total, 48 girls had two days of training in Ramallah.  There was 100% participation – and this during their vacation time! Part of the training involved the girls themselves identifying an issue that they considered an important need in their community.  The girls agreed that the fact that there was no cultural and sport centre that could be used by them needed to be changed (the existing one(s) were for boys and men only).  By the end of the training, the girls planned out a local campaign in Deir al Ammar, including a public meeting and a meeting with the decision makers in Palestine and in Ramallah, on live TV! The public meeting was held and broadcast live in early June.  It was attended by members of the community, TCC staff, the Deputy Director of UNRWA, the Palestinian Minister of Women’s’ Affairs, and the Minister of Social Affairs. So how did they do? The girls received a promise from UNRWA  to fund them for the land required to build the centre; the Minister of Women Affairs promised to provide the equipment for the building; and the Ministry of social affairs promised the girls to work toward funding the construction of the building. Pretty impressive, no? But if you look at the wider outcomes, it’s even more impressive: 48 girls were trained in rights, civic education values, critical thinking , campaign management and action learning methodology; 48 girls claimed their rights and changed oppressive circumstances in their community; 48 girls learned to address their problems and needs, and defend them in a democratic and peaceful way; There now is increased community awareness and understanding of tolerance, human rights values and the importance – and benefits! – of getting involved in your community and working together for change. YES SHE CAN!

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