Friendship Village activity in 2005
Along the year of 2005 our activity included several projects and expanded also to new fields. These projects are keeping on in 2006 – moreover, some are going to expand further, while new extensions of existing projects will be defined as new ones. In addition to them, we plan also to start completely new projects toward the second half of 2006. These new projects we shall be able to realize, if necessary financial sources will be found.
At the present we focus on three channels; two of them will split in the near future, each to two parallel projects: similar frameworks that will include different content and section of participants.
Projects - General
1 - "Woman Educators for Peace and Human Rights". Includes an academic course, as well as Woman Teachers' Summer Training Program, both hold in cooperation with the Emeq Yizre'el College.
This project will split: in cooperation with the Levinsky College for Education and the University of Haifa two more courses, devoted to more political issues, will be hold the second semester. These courses will contain issues, such as racism, impact of occupation on society and more.
2 – "Talk Peace – Make Peace" – Israeli-Palestinian project: a series of meetings between young Palestinian and Israeli political leaders and social activists. A parallel channel to this project is planned for 2006, in participation of Youth Organizations' leaders.
3 – "Nemashim" - a volunteer group of high-school graduates, who share rented apartment in a low-income neighborhood in Haifa, work with two neighbour communities: an Arab and a Jewish, in order to build joint projects and cooperation between children, youth and adults – using art, especially theatre, as means to build bridges.
In addition to these running projects, we have further plans to develop more ways to cope with the multicultural character of our world, while focusing on "agents for change": people that will have position, ability and will, to have impact on their society – especially on young people – they work with, toward implanting ideas of equality, respect, human rights and tolerance.
Projects – Detailed
1a - "Woman Educators for Peace and Human Rights".
Academic course for Jewish and Arab woman students, devoted to inter-ethnic dialogue and women empowerment. This project allows us to spread our message and methods within the academic establishment.
Following successful implementation of this course last year, through excellent cooperation with the "Emeq Yizre'el Academic College", we shall accomplish this year two such courses: in the first and in the second semester. The course is funded by us, syllabus has been developed in cooperation between our and the College's team. It combines academic elements, accomplished by the College staff and dynamic workshops, run by facilitators of "Friendship Village". The College also supplies place, participants and all necessary services. We get stable and well organized framework, academic support and enjoy prestige of the institute. The College gets stimulating novel methods to transfer ideas to students – and financing one of their courses. The students get 4 academic points – so everybody is happy… This course actually closes the gap between academic studies and real life. It builds commitment among participants to ideas that we transfer to them along the course.
The Project has an additional framework: Summer Program for Woman Teachers. This channel includes similar elements and methods like the academic course, concentrated to 8 successive days in Summer vacation. Participants are woman teachers in charge. Last summer we accomplished such a program' in cooperation with the Gordon College for Education in Haifa. Next summer we plan to hold two similar programs.
1b – Young People Against Racism
While looking for more academic institutes in purpose to introduce our ideas and methods to them, we got in touch with the Levinsky Academic College for Education and the Department for Sociology in University of Haifa. They accepted our proposal willingly, however they were interested in other issues: In the Levinsky College they suggested to hold a course about "Israeli Society and Racism", in Haifa University – " Sociology of Occupation". As these subjects are definitely within the framework of our interest, we agreed to cooperate – especially as we hope to "push our leg" into these important institutes, in purpose of further cooperation in the future.
Framework, methods and ways of cooperation are similar to "Woman Educators for Peace and Human Rights".
We are looking for further connections with academic institutes, in purpose to expand our pervasion into the academic establishment. First connections were made with Beit Berl, Kibbutzim Seminar, Western Galilee Academic College. Number of courses that we will be able to run is limited and will depend on financial resources that we'll succeed to raise in the future.
2 – Talk Peace – Make Peace – 2006 (TPMP)
The project includes a series of meetings, between Israeli and Palestinian young community activists and political leaders. Purpose is : to learn way of mind, political positions, vested interests of the other side, above all to meet real people beyond stereotypes and to learn to listen. Number of participants: 12 from each side, all together 24. Schedule included long weekend in Turkey, four month later in Cyprus. In between short weekend in Jerusalem area, plus 3 uni-national meetings of each group alone, in purpose to elaborate experiences and all that learned in bi-national meetings. Later on one day long meeting was hold in Kibbutz Metzer, one more uni-national meeting and finally a summing up meeting of all participants in A-Ram. All together 9 sessions.
Issues, such as structure of the two societies, the two historic narratives, impact of occupation and of the "separation – wall" on both societies were discussed. Israeli group was composed of social activists and young politicians, most of them from Labour, Shinui ( Liberal) and Likud ( Right wing Conservative) parties. Palestinian partner was the "Palestinian Institute for Peace and Democracy", affiliated by moderate wing of the Fatah Movement.
Conclusion is very positive: connections on personal level were created, level of stereotypes was reduced and some understanding of the other side's positions was achieved.
We mean to start a new turn of this project, straight after the Parliamentarian elections in Israel. Several applications were received by us from young political activists of different Israeli parties, among the other from "Shas" religious party.
2b – Young Leaders Talk Peace – Make Peace – 2006 ( YLTPMP)
Framework similar to TPMP, for different participants: we mean to bring together group leaders of Palestinian and Israeli youth organizations. We believe, that young leaders, active in informal educational frameworks, may have strong impact on youth.
Our partner will be the Palestinian Scout Movement.
Beginning of Project depended on accomplishment of budget. We have got already partial support, which is not enough to start realization of the Project. Start is planned to February.
3 - Nemashim ( Youth Play Peace)
A group of 5, high-school graduate volunteers. They live in a shared apartment ( Kommuna), devote their time to social and educational work in two low-income neighborhoods in Haifa: one of them Arab, the other one Jewish. Main purpose of the Project is to build bridges between inhabitants of these neighborhoods, mainly through art – especially theatre. Originally planned as a Jewish-Arab group, actually at the present the group is composed exclusively of Jewish young man and ladies, all of them graduates of drama and art oriented schools. Arab members that absent in the Group itself are replaced by young Arab volunteers – most of them students in University of Haifa – that cooperate with the Kommuna members in running their programs. The Project activity includes several small programs, executed in cooperation with local Social Centre: 1 – Community T.V. circle, 2 – Jewish-Arab theatre circle of adult women, 3 – Jewish-Arab street – theater of youth, 4 - stories circle for elementary school children, 5 – Guitar class of teenagers, 6 – 2 circles of belly-dancing: for youth and for adult Jewis and Arab women, 7 – Youth theater circle.
In addition to current activities, the Kommuna produce 3 full theater plays along the year, that are presented to public of children and youth in social centers and schools all over Haifa.
Members of the Kommuna also work for their maintenance 2 days a week.
To prepare the next year's volunteer group, 6 theater workshops are hold by the Project Directors: workshops are based on a mixed Jewish-Arab group of 16 12th class students that meet once in a month for weekend. Participants develop their theater skills and prepare themselves to devote one year of their life to volunteering for Jewish – Arab educational – social activity.
Further projects has been developed by our team, however their accomplishment will be function of our success to raise necessary funds:
1 – Going in Peace – a mixed, Jewish-Arab hiking circle, in purpose to learn about our common country through the two historic narratives, two cultures and two languages. Supposed participants: Youth Organizations' group leaders.
2 – Beyond the Barriers – International Training Seminar for activists of European and Mediterranean NGOs, that work on the issue of Inter-ethnic Dialogue. This project run in 2003 – 2004, as long as it was funded by the European Commission. We had to stop it when the E.C. stopped this budget line, still hope to renew – regarding its exceptional added value to us and to many more NGOs over the world.
We succeeded to diversify our financial sources in 2005, however we are sorry to announce, that our cause that enjoys high priority in Europe is almost totally ignored among Israeli circles that could help. Governmental budgets, as well as private donors prefer to fund purely humanitarian activities, or religious and national educational organizations. Jewish-Arab dialogue is a totally neglected issue in our country. The only meaningful local grant was received from the "Inheritance Fund" ( 11.500 $). As a result of this regrettable situation, our activity is almost totally depended on support from abroad.
Last year we enjoyed support of the German and the Canadian Governments, contact with more Governments are in process. We hope to expand these sources in the next future.
Our main effort of fund raising is directed toward public foundations, most of them rooted in the Christian Church and the American Jewish establishment, as well as private Jewish and non-Jewish charities. These foundations are based in France, Germany, U.K., Switzerland, Holland, U.S. Without their support our work was not possible.
We make great efforts to expand our financial basis to more charities in these countries, as well as in additional ones, such as Italy, Spain, the Scandinavian countries, Canada.
In spite of the above mentioned difficulties in fund-raising in Israel, we still didn't give up and make great efforts to approach some local foundations with application for our Projects, especially with the "Nemashim" project.
Absence of private donors is a real problem for us. However the last year we started to get some – still modest – donations from individuals living in the U.K., U.S., Israel. We have to invest more efforts toward this possible source of income. Establishment of "Friends of Friendship Village" in Israel and abroad will be a great challenge for us.
With the expansion of our activity, we had to increase the number of staff members, however still we are talking of rather modest numbers:
All staff members work in part-time jobs.
Jonatan Peled – General Director – 1/2
Mohammed Abd el Halim – Educational Director – 1/2
Yuval Arbel – Organizational Director – 1/3
Uri Shani – Professional co-Manager - 1/3
Shadi Faher a-Din - Professional co-Manager - 1/3
Sharon Perez – Social Coordinator – 1/5
Woman Educators Project
Revital Yonai – co-Director & facilitator – according to work
Raimonda Mansour - co-Director & facilitator – according to work
In our different Projects facilitators and lecturers are employed according to needs.
As the extent of our work can't justify renting an office, all administrative work is done by staff members from home. Coordination is done by phone, e-mails and in weekly meetings.
Our book-keeping is made by professional accountant, under supervision of hired auditor. We are registered, supervised Non Profit Organization.