Young Girls Empowerment
In the Palestinian culture and society, there exists a hierarchy between the genders, creating a male dominated society. During childhood, girls and boys are raised and treated differently. The culture limits females more than males and because of this limitation there are less opportunities for women. This makes it more challenging for the girls to obtain what they need to become self-aware, become leaders in their community, and to determine their own role in society rather than fitting into the role made for them. As girls become teenagers, they become more and more marginalized in society and struggle with feelings of insecurity and confusion. These feelings and the oppression against woman are exacerbated by the harsh living conditions and lack of opportunity caused by the Israeli military occupation which limits community development and endangers human security.
The Young Girls Empowerment program is a project designed to educate, develop and inspire young women into leaders rather than become disengaged, marginalized and oppressed people in the society. This project is designed to enhance the capabilities and psychological resilience of young Palestinian teenage girls and to begin to see themselves as creators of their own fate, rather than as victims of their circumstances. This program is aimed to help enable these young girls to become leaders within a global environment.
During the project, the girls will meet weekly to explore their lives in relation to their families and communities and discover how their outside circumstances effect their bodies, emotions, minds, and spirits. These meetings will be led by Palestinian women who will serve as mentors for the girls. They will learn “centering and grounding techniques” (relaxation, meditation, movement, and creating sacred space), they will engage in creative activities (arts and crafts, journaling, poetry writing, improvisational plays, music, dancing, martial arts, and outdoor activities in nature), they will learn about peace and nonviolence, they will practice and sharpen their English skills, they will take on various small service projects, either as individuals, or in small groups within their various communities and they will listen to different presentations, readings or lectures on various topics by invited guests.
As a result of participation in this program, the young girls will have an increased likelihood of a successful future throughout their lives because they will have been given an opportunity to have different experiences and gain skills, which are rarely available to young girls in the “Occupied Territories”. This project gives the participants the opportunity to meet and develop relationships with other girls in the Bethlehem area with whom they would normally not mix because of varying social categories. Since they are able to share themselves and their experiences with each other, they are able to form bonds of trust which gives them the ability to see more options for their futures. They will have a vastly widened perspective on their lives and life in general. The program will encourage the young girls to become proactive and make wise decisions. Not only will the program help to build the participants’ self-esteem and help them to gain a greater sense of themselves, but the program will groom these young women as the future leaders within their communities.
A long term result of this project will be that the communities in the greater Bethlehem area will begin to feel the influence of the new ideas being learned by the girls. As these young women grow, they will influence their communities by different projects they initiate and by being good models for the younger girls. Other girls within these communities will aspire to be become like the girls in the program and will join in projects which will be initiated by the participants–thus also enhancing their sense of self-esteem, personal power and competence.
We are in the process of beginning our second session of the Young Girls Empowerment program. If you are a Palestinian, teenage girl, and would like to participate in this program, please contact our program coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are not Palestinian, don’t worry, we still want you to be involved! You can support this project and Holy Land Trust by making a donation on our Donation page, liking our Facebook page by clicking here and by spreading the word to your community about the Palestinian situation and how Holy Land Trust is making an impact.