|Spending two moths living and working in Jerusalem and the West Bank was considered an unusual way
to spend part of my gap year by many of my friends back England, Larissa and Pietro, who were also
volunteering for MEND and the three of us were welcomed to both Palestine and MEND by Taka, who
worked as MEND’s resource development officer. Taka suggested that we all looked through MEND’s
website in order to gain a clear understanding of its important work all over Palestine. We were also
asked for suggestions to improve and update the website.
After the initial difficulties of working out how to use the software used to update the website I spent
time adding new photos and reports of MEND’s recent projects and ensuring any information was both
accurate and up to date. I also created a page on the website about MEND’s many international
volunteers. Hopefully this can be used to attract more international volunteers to continue to help MEND
with its important work.
Whilst working for MEND my major project has been reworking and improving the English translation of the
Curriculum Project Evaluation. This four year project worked to introduce a much needed national
program of civic education within Palestinian schools. The 10,000-word evaluation had been
inaccurately translated into English, and so Pietro and I went through the entire document, ensuring that
the translation was clear and as close to the original Arabic as possible. The changes we made ranged
from simply adding in the occasional “the” and “a”, to defining and clarifying keep concepts which had
rather been “lost in translation”. With the help of Nabil Shibli, the author of the original evaluation in
Arabic, Pietro and I were able to finish revising the evaluation. As a result Nabil will be able to present the
findings of the evaluation to an international conference on peace education in Nairobi this December.
My time with MEND was not simply restricted to helping in their office in Beit Hanina. As a volunteer I had
the opportunity to travel extensively around the West Bank, visiting MEND’s Active Nonviolence Network
offices in Hebron, Nablus and Tul Karem. One particularly interesting trip was to the first Town hall Style
Discussion in Tul Karem during which Pietro and I wrote up a report of the event in English. It was fantastic
to see MEND’s work in action and see the project start to come to fruition after much planning both in Tul
Karem and back in East Jerusalem.
My experiences with MEND have given me a fantastic introduction to Palestinian life as well as a
valuable insight into the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. During the two months I spent living and working the
Jerusalem and Palestine I have met many amazing people, coping with the daily pressures of occupation,
and yet continuing to promote active nonviolence within Palestinian society. Insha’Allah I will be back in
Palestine very soon and I hope to continue to be able to support MEND and raise awareness of active
nonviolence in Palestine from back home in London.