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Association for Arab Youth








Summary of Baladna Activities

12-18 Youth Leadership Program 18-22 Count-to-Ten Anti-Violence Campaign 23-26 Against The Civic Service Campaign 27-29 Field Research “Palestinian Youth Affairs” 30-31 Culture Forum 32-33 “Our Return” Project 34-35 Giving - Identity & Participation 36-39 Clubs & Cultural Events 40-43 Thank Yous


Dear friends and partners, Two more years have passed, and the Baladna Association for Arab Youth is still going forward full of the same energy and youthful spirit that it had when it started more than 12 years ago. In this biennial activities report we are proud to present to you our work over the previous two years, from the summer of 2011 until the summer of 2013. During this time, Baladna’s projects have continued to expand in order to raise awareness of Palestinian youth, about their identity and social justice, and to deepen the voluntary spirit and understanding of human rights in our community. Arab citizens are the poorest sector of the population in Israel, and with 62% of Palestinian society under the age of 30, it is clear that Arab Palestinian youth are in need of institutions which can support their needs and ambitions. The past two years have seen Baladna’s achievements increase in quantity and quality, taking us step by step toward reaching our goals of promoting and developing Palestinian youth activism through educational, cultural, and media projects. The Youth Leadership Program - Baladna’s oldest project, which introduced a new model of non-formal education to our community - is still going strong. Over the past two years, we have trained 42 youth leaders and had 300 youth participants divided into 17 groups from all over Israel, which brings our total number of youth leaders to 343 and participants to 4,150 since the program’s inception. The Count-to-Ten Anti-violence Campaign has also grown to reach a larger number of people through workshops with students, teachers, and parents, and through the videos Baladna has produced. The videos, posted online, have been viewed by tens of thousands of people, the majority of which are youth (age 13-17) - we are clearly succeeding at reaching the right layer of the community. 5

Baladna has demonstrated that it is the best organizational resource for working with Palestinian youth in Israel. Baladna’s educational manual is in wide demand, and this year Baladna sponsored field research on Palestinian youth affairs in Israel. The study explored the views of about 1,000 Palestinian students, and the results were presented at the second annual Palestinian Youth Affairs Conference organized by Baladna. The conference was a success, attracting many activists and associations interested in the Palestinian community, and we hope it will become a regular annual event. Another year is coming up, and Baladna’s magnificent staff and volunteers will go on to achieve more and more steps on the path to our dream of reaching the largest number of Palestinian youth we possibly can. Twelve years have passed, and we are going on. Ameer Zreik Chairperson




Baladna wins United Nation’s Solidarity Fund Baladna is pleased to announce that our new campaign against sectarian prejudice has been named a winner of the United Nations’ Youth Solidarity Fund. With over 700 projects under consideration, competition was considerable, but the campaign succeeded in being named a winner, the only one from Israel/Palestine. The project was created as a grassroots response to the worrying increase in sectarian phenomenon in Palestinian schools and communities, and it will be launched in Palestinian schools in time for the new school year. This campaign is the first action of this kind, aiming to address the rising phenomenon of sectarianism in the region. We hope it will contribute to reducing prejudice among Palestinian youth and lay the bases for youth activism against sectarian prejudice.

Baladna wins Haidar Abdul Shafi Award Baladna wins Haidar Abdul Shafi Award for collective initiatives during the festival of Palestine Award for Volunteerism, in honor of its tireless efforts and active and influential role in the campaign, “I am not a servant” Youth Against the Civic Service, becoming the leading actor of the National Youth Work in the 48 areas. Young Baladna activist and leader of Baladna’s youth group in Isfiya - Maysan Hamdan, has also won the Outstanding Volunteer Award, for her leading role in youth work in the Druze community and her brave positions of anti-military service and feminist activity in several frames.




Youth 44 Leadership Program


Trained youth leaders

Youth groups




Community projects

Count-to- over 1,100 over 700 Ten AntiViolence Campaign over 200,000 participants in antiviolence workshops

manuals, posters and educational materials distributed

views for official campaign videos on social media

Against over 15,000 over 600 the Civic Service Campaign 5 videos hundreds Disseminated educational handouts

for awareness campaign viewed over 15,000 times


youth participants in educational workshops

attended community festival

Field & Clubs nearly 1000 over 700 Research: Cultural ‘Palestinian events Youth over 150 Affairs in Social 6 over 600 Israel’ Media Debate club

Book club palestinian youth interviewed and Alternative tours surveyed

manuals, posters and educational materials distributed

Concerts & Film screenings

conferences and meetings publicising results to

Culture Forum


Social media trainings visitors daily to online database of youth educational opportunities

6 than 12 more 200,000 400+

meetings guest attendees speakers views of Baladna’s Youtube page

more than 25,000 5 12 80

“Our Return” Project Over 5000 Total Reach Giving - Over 25,000 Identity and ParticipationOver 250,000

friends of Baladna’s Facebook pages youth groups

photographic projects

total participants

direct participants in projects and activities Centralised database of volunteering opportunities

printed materials distributed Cooperation with local youth groups Media campaign on volunteering

youth reached through social media 11



A cornerstone of Baladna’s activities and one which has been running since the association’s establishment over 12 years ago, the Youth Leadership Program aims to address internal challenges within Palestinian society by creating a sustainable youth movement to promote pluralism, democracy, and gender equality. The program aims to unearth and equip a new generation of motivated, dynamic civil society actors amongst Palestinians in Israel, and to provide a framework of non-partisan youth groups through which Palestinian school students in Israel can discuss and explore social issues, notions of identity, and became more engaged with their communities. The program follows Baladna’s Public Achievement Model, in which university students are trained to lead teenagers in identifying a problem in their communities, designing a project to address it, and carrying out their plan.

Program Objectives


Equip Palestinian youth living in Israel with skills to become thoughtful and active agents for social and political change within their communities.


Increase civic engagement among youth in their communities through education and facilitating hands-on service projects.


Empower high school youth to embrace their Palestinian identity and to promote democracy within their communities.


Accomplishments in Numbers



Trained youth leaders

Youth groups




Community projects

Public Achievement Projects 2011-2012 Nazareth branches:

Leader: Shaden Saleem raised awareness about community violence through public art, social media, and distribution of printed materials in schools. Leader: Maysaloon Abu Ahmad organized cultural event about the effects of early marriage featuring a variety of interactive performances: singing, theater, lectures, and dialogue.

Rahat branch:

Leader: Madeeha El-Kamalat: held film screening and lecture to educate community about the Israeli civil service program.


Haifa branch:

Leader: Shahed Taha hosted Iftar dinner for students from Haifa and students from surrounding villages to come together and discuss discrimination and sectarianism in schools.

Yaffa-Nazareth branch:

Leader: Ahed Zain conducted service project to clean and mark local archeological sites, and to educate youth about the history of each site.

Eilaboon branch:

Leader Amir Zreik: arranged educational trip to local drug rehabilitation facility and distributed posters about drug abuse and addiction.

Kufor Qarea branch:

Leader: Hanan Abo Rashed visited feminist organization in Haifa to learn about women’s rights activism and held a community screening of a movie about discrimination against women.

Isfiya branch:

Leader: Misan Hamadan produced short movie focusing on identity and language damage with the goal of reviving Arabic language in Isfiya, and carried out several volunteer projects in local schools and nursing homes.

2012-2013 Laqiya branch

Leader: Layla Sayed Produced a film concerned with the historical narrative of Laqiya village, documenting the stories of local men and 15

women who lived through the Nakba and then a series of further forced displacements. Entitled “From Grandparents to Grandchildren”, its screening was attended by 300 people from the area.

Rahat branch

Leader: Bilal al-Abreh Targeting the government’s Prawer Plan and policies of forced displacement in the Naqab, the Rahat group organised a number of activities focusing on the village of Ateer, which has been rebuilt after being demolished by the army, but is now threatened with demolition once again. Actions included the planting of olive trees and various children’s activities with the village’s youngest residents

Baqa al-Gharbiya branch

Leader: Mahmoud Mawassi Tackled the phenomenon of racism in all its forms during an educational awareness day. The project took place in the Khawarizmi primary school and saw youth group participants introduce and explore concepts and ideas with a total of 150 primary school students.

Nazareth branch

Leader: Shaden Salim Project promoting volunteerism and opposition to compulsory civic service. This was done through organising a volunteer day at Nazareth’s Galilee Hospital and the design and launch of a poster on the issue.

Ibilin branch

Leader: Menas Atariyeh Tackled the phenomenon of violence, and in particular its occurrence in schools, by organising an awareness raising day in Ibilin’s primary school. It was attended by 180 sixth-grade students.


Shefa Amr branch

Leader: Hanan Haddad Took on the theme of volunteering and opposing the state’s civic service by organising a voluntary work day in Shefa Amr’s old souq.

Haifa branches

Leader: Youssra Barakat Addressed the issue of violence in schools through the creation of 2 short films on the phenomenon. An awareness day on the subject was also organised at the Hewar state school in Haifa which was attended by 150 secondary school students. Leader: Thaira Zoabi Project dealt with the subject of youth volunteerism by organising a day of voluntary work in Haifa’s Sharqi neighbourhood. Leader: Mustafa Renawe Trained youth in debate skills and organised a public debate in their local school to introduce youth to the concepts of logic, rational argumentation, and the power of the spoken word.

Personal Experiences Misan Hamadan, youth leader: “This year as a youth leader came with lots of benefits for me in general and on personal levels. It gave me the means, tools, and communication styles to approach the Arab Druze society. It helped me increase the level of awareness in my community about the subject of identity and Druze society’s historic narrative of equality, gender and human rights - things that our society has moved away from in the last 50 years.” 17

Maysaloon Abu Ahmad, youth leader: “As a group leader, the YLP has enhanced my experience in every way, especially in developing my leadership skills and helping me discover so many youth issues that are important to me. My experience with Baladna affected me so much, and I don’t think there is an alternative to what I have gained personally from this program: self-confidence, the knowledge that I can face all kinds of challenges, and development of my leadership and analytical skills.”

Faraj Simaan, 13, youth participant: “I learned things that I had never learnt before about the Nakba and the Palestinian history which was mind-blowing to me since I had only heard the official story of the history of my city and region.”

Don Safadi, 13, youth participant: “I enjoyed meeting new people my own age and talking about things we don’t get to talk about at school, which helped my frustration. Successfully completing the public achievement project felt really motivating.”


Watch Video




Now in its third year, Baladna’s anti-violence campaign was launched as a response to rising incidences of violence amongst youth in Palestinian society. The campaign sees youth leaders trained to facilitate nonviolence trainings in high schools in affected communities across the country, with different sessions attended by students, teachers and parents. Youth leaders are equipped with the skills to lead youth groups of 15-20 students through a series of meetings and workshops, before embarking on a final project highlighting anti-violence initiatives - widening the impact throughout the school and having an accumulative effect on the community. The campaign encourages Palestinian students to think critically about the phenomenon of violence, its social, political and psychological causes, and ways to counter its spread and influence. Meetings are convened with teachers and parents in order to ensure a wide consensus on the goals of the campaign, and to create a form of support network among those involved. The campaign has also been active in social media channels, with an extremely popular video competition which saw dozens of entries from young Palestinians and thousands of online views, with the official project video, launched as a collaboration between Baladna and a local rap artist, receiving over 100,000 views


Watch Video


Program Objectives


Confront rising violence in Palestinian schools


Raise awareness amongst students on the nature of the phenomenon and foster youth-led moves to challenge its occurrence


Train teachers and engage with parents to strengthen project impact

Accomplishments in Numbers


youth groups with 160 high school students

over 1,100 participants in antiviolence workshops

over 20,000


over 120

anti-violence projects

parents participate in awareness workshops

over 100 teachers attend specialised antiviolence workshops

views for official campaign videos on social media

over 7,000 manuals, posters and educational materials distributed


Groups Haifa{2} Ilut

Nazareth{2} Jaffa Rahat

Umm al-Fahm

Sakhnin Ramle Laqiya

Final Projects Awareness days Teacher-student dialogue sessions Poster competition Petitions Teacher-Parent Meetings

Personal Experiences Da’aa Othamineh: “I’ve achieved a greater awareness of the nature of violence and of its dangers to people, and a clearer understanding of what is required in order to reduce the phenomenon.” Yasmin Othman: “Talking about feelings of anger and frustration reduced tensions, and it became possible to talk and behave kindly instead of resorting to violence.”


Watch Video




Since 2007, Baladna has been leading a coalition of political, social, and national organisations in Israel, including the Higher Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel, in opposition to the recruitment of young Palestinians into Israel’s Civic Service Project. The Israeli government intends the Civic Service Project to be an alternative to military service for those populations who are exempt from the draft. However, this program undermines Palestinian society in Israel by indirectly assisting the Israeli military, eroding Palestinian national identity, and cementing the status of Palestinians as second-class citizens in Israel. The program is currently voluntary, but a law to render it compulsory is currently being pushed through the Knesset, ensuring the necessity of maintaining a focused, relevant campaign to meet the needs of the Palestinian community. Over the past 2 years over 600 youth have attended educational and awareness raising workshops on the subject, with a targeted media campaign reaching out to thousands more across the country, and supported with its own dedicated Facebook page: NotoCivicS. In July 2012 a community festival attended by hundreds of community members showcased opposition to government plans, while the campaign was again called into action a few months later following revelations of the sectarian rhetoric employed by government recruiters in an attempt to gain conscripts from Palestinian Christian scout groups. In response a series of videos was released featuring opposition to the Civic Service from young Christian, Druze and Bedouin Palestinians, gaining over 100,000 views and hundreds of comments, while the momentum of the campaign has continued with a series of talks and workshops in Nazareth, Dabouria and Arraba, among others.


Program Objectives

1 2 3 4

Raise awareness of youth and their communities about the dangers of the civic service proposal for Palestinian society Build consensus rejecting compulsory service, while promoting volunteerism Combat the sectarian recruitment drives of the Israeli establishment Deliver a message to Israeli decision-makers that the Palestinian community rejects compulsory service to the State

Accomplishments in Numbers Disseminated

over 15,000

educational handouts

5 videos


conferences held in Jerusalem and Nazareth attracting wide media coverage

for awareness campaign viewed over 15,000 times



over 600

youth participants in educational workshops

attended community festival

Personal Experiences Khaled Enbtawe: “Our complete opposition to the Civic Service Program has clear and obvious reasons, and that is what we highlighted at the festival against the proposed recruitment law. We emphasized that we are not against volunteering, but that the institutions and associations of our Arab society are in much more need of volunteers than the Israeli authorities’ institutions.” Fatme Asleh:

“Confronting the civic service at the personal level is no less important than doing so at the general level. This is what I came to realise during my experience, increasing my conviction of the importance and effectiveness of raising awareness and its ability to get tangible results.

Watch Video




Baladna was excited to sponsor the first ever field study to thoroughly explore the needs and perceptions of young Palestinians in Israel, addressing the near-total absence of research, official or academic, on this crucial sector of the population.The pioneering research included a survey of 862 students and several focus groups reaching 110 students, and covered 5 principal areas of enquiry: work, education, identity, social attitudes, and political and social participation. The study’s most important findings include:


Widespread dissatisfaction of Arab youth in Israel regarding the performance of Arab schools and an urgent need for academic guidance programs


Obstacles to higher education include cost, cultural shock, Hebrew language, and racism


Racism in the Israeli workforce and lack of knowledge about its needs compels Arab youth to rely on the limited job opportunities that exist within their communities


Generally high political awareness and interest in developing the Palestinian/Arab identity among young people


High degree of concern about growing violence and sectarianism in Palestinian communities


Agreement that inequality between Arab men and women exists, but disagreement over the importance and need for creating a change


The results were presented at the Palestinian Youth Affairs Conference in May 2012 to over 200 partners and professionals who work with youth, and they discussed the research’s implications for Palestinian youth organisations, as well as future projects to address issues raised. The results were explored further at a second conference with the NGO umbrella group AIDA in July, before a 10 day tour of France, Belgium and the Netherlands saw Baladna present its findings to an international audience of previous and potential partners in the field. Additionally, nearly 1,500 copies of the study report have been distributed to a range of actors including journalists, parliament members, international organisations, and embassies. The full report is available for download online at

Accomplishments in Numbers

nearly 1,000

over 150

Palestinian youth interviewed and surveyed

local and international organisations attend events publicising the results

2,000 copies of study report circulated to journalists, members of government, academics, NGOs and community activists




The Culture Forum is a newly launched initiative run by volunteers which sees youth, academics and professionals in the field come together to discuss cultural issues and taboos which affect Palestinian communities, with meetings including presentations, expert talks and film screenings. Launched in December 2012, every month sees a new topic under the spotlight, with a total of over 400 attendees so far. December: The Killing of Women in Palestinian Society January: Mixed Marriages and Civil Marriage February: Gender and Sexual Identity March: Land Day May: The Health Situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip June: Islamic Movements in Palestine and the Arab World

Accomplishments in Numbers




over 400


Guest speakers




“Our Return� is a new project involving youth from the third generation of internally displaced Palestinians in Israel. Launched in partnership with the Arab Association for Human Rights, the Association for the Rights of the Internally Displaced, and Zochrot, the project sees youth visualise the dream of return to their ancestral villages. Consisting of 5 youth groups from 5 different destroyed villages, the project sees groups trained in conceptualising and planning the return, ending with the creation of a final project demonstrating their work.

Accomplishments in Numbers





Youth groups

Final projects

total participants



A new initiative whose aim is to strengthen the spirit and framework of volunteering among Palestinian youth inside Israel. The project has seen the creation of a central database listing opportunities and potential volunteers, working to find suitable matches for the 2 sides’ needs and desires, as well as providing support and opportunities for cooperation with local youth groups. A media campaign and youth survey have also been initiated, while a volunteer camp has been organised to take place in the West Bank, uniting Palestinian youth from both sides of the Green Line. The project’s objectives are to strengthen the sense of responsibility and social commitment of Palestinian youth, and support their engagement with civil society organisations for the mutual benefit of both. Personal Experience

George Ghantous: “Volunteering is a step towards independence and a necessary method to morally rebuild our society and counter the negative pressure of the Zionist regime”




Alongside its main programs and projects, Baladna organises a number of events and activities which aim to contribute to the general cultural and intellectual life of Palestinian society inside Israel, organising both one-off events and regular projects to this end.

Debate Club Baladna continues to run its Debate Club which is comprised of 18 members, mainly university students and young people in their twenties. Baladna provides training and materials for its meetings which aim to improve the skills required for debate and reasoned argumentation. The group was able to showcase its skills at a public debate in June, organised in co-operation with the I’lam Media Center, which saw two teams passionately debate the pros and cons of the BDS movement in relation to Palestinian artists inside Israel, and take questions from the audience of around 100 people. Personal Experience:

Raneen Zreik: “I wanted to take part in such a program in order to improve my public speaking and debate skills. In the end my participation resulted not only this, but it also contributed to developing a new way of thinking which helped my understanding and reactions during debate situations, which was personally very enriching.�


Book Club participants meet monthly to engage with classical and contemporary Palestinian and Arabic literature, and learn to discuss and think critically about the surrounding issues.

Alternative tours Another new initiative, this project aims to present Palestinian and local historical narratives which are denied and obscured from the general public by official Israeli discourse. The series of tours and day trips includes “Views of Haifa” which sees local historians and residents from some of Haifa’s lesser-known and marginalised Arab communities present their sides of the story, and has included trips to the old Station Neighbourhood and Wadi Salib, both old Palestinian neighbourhoods near the centre of Haifa suffering from dereliction and the threat of destruction. Tours have also been organised to the Naqab and the Golan Heights in order to unearth the local stories hidden from view in mainstream media and tourist itineraries, with the project so far welcoming over 100 participants, both local and international, on its tours.

Concerts & Film screenings In the interests of fostering a vibrant and innovative Palestinian cultural scene, Baladna regularly organises events exhibiting Palestinian talent to the public. The most recent of these have included musician Alaa Azzam’s new show “Mish Arif” in April, attended by 300 people both young and old, and 41

Baladna’s book reading club sees around 20 youth film screenings of “30 March” to mark Land Day, and Susan Youssef’s award-winning new film “Habibi Rasak Kharban”, which both attracted audiences of over 100 people.

Social Media The role of social media in shaping the framework of debate and information exchanges is growing stronger every year, a case which is particularly true for the youth demographic we serve, but can also be applied to society generally. Acknowledging this, Baladna is taking a lead in using social media as a tool for advocacy and social and political change, and has complemented its strong online presence on social networks with specialist trainings. Six sessions have so far been carried out, including two focusing on wikipedia and twitter as a tool for social change, with a total of 125 participants. Meanwhile Baladna’s homepage and social media pages have received thousands of likes and receive hundreds of hits every day.

Web Pages Homepage: Facebook page: Twitter page:


THANK YOU Thank you to all the members, staff, volunteers and activists of Baladna, whose effort and hard work have made our accomplishments possible.

Members of the board

Amir Zreik, Chairperson Khaled Enbtawe (2011-2012) Mariam Farah Rawan Eghbaria Osama Tanous Shahim Elias Natalie Hayek Monitoring Committee Maisan Hamdan Ahmad Jabarin Areen Shtewe Staff Nadim Nashif, Director Nidaa Nassar, Project Coordinator Jowan Safadi, Fundraiser Rasha Hamed, Administrative Assistant Yazid Sadi, Administrative Assistant (2011-2013) Thaira Zoabi, Project Coordinator (2011-2012) Khaled Enbtawe, Project Coordinator (2011-2012) George Ghantous, Project Coordinator Interns Delia Flanagan Gareth Bridgewater Nora Kopping Youth Leaders Youth Leadership Program Shaden Saleem Maysaloon Abu Ahmad Madeeha El-Kamalat Shahed Taha Ahed Zain Amir Zreik 44

Hanan Abo Rashed Layla Sayed Bilal al-Abreh Mahmoud Mawassi Shaden Salim Menas Atariyeh Hanan Haddad Youssra Barakat Thaira Zoabi Mustafa Renawe Raneen Zreik Anti-Violence Campaign Mohammed Qadah Duaa Athamala Fidaa Shehada Huda Abu Obaid Hanen Eghbaria Nidaa Nassar Aseel Tayah “Our Return” Shadi Akri Ali Muwasi Culture Club Firas Naamnih Fatima Asli Ronza Najjar Media Anan Ayoub Amir Khatib


Donors A big thank you to the following organisations who have been supporting our activities during the 2011-2013 period, without whom we could not have done what we did: Oxfam CCFD War Child AFSC Welfare Association CordAid NIF Acsur Grassroots Cultures of Resistance HEKS



Association for Arab Youth-Baladna 18 Habankim St. P.O.Box 99604, Haifa, 31996 Tel: +972 (0)48523035 | Fax: +972 (0)48523427 E-mail: Website:



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