Rawan, a Palestinian woman in her early twenties, has a BA in Communications and English Literature, and is currently completing a Master’s degree in Psychoanalysis and Literature. She works at a youth center in Al-Achuwa school in Jaffa, where she volunteered while in Sadaka-Reut’s ‘Community in Action’ project in 2011-2012.

Rawan describes her experience in ‘Community in Action’ as difficult and full of challenges both on the intellectual and emotional level:

It was my first experience in an Arab – Jewish framework. There is no option to not confront the other. It was important for me that ‘the other’ listens to what I have to say, and I also wanted to listen. As time went by I realized that the Jewish group did not know much about our reality as Arabs, and therefore the discussion with them was so crucial.

Rawan feels that her experience with Sadaka-Reut supported her forming an identity and contributed to her intellectual capabilities. In addition, she stressed that it made her understand the importance of Palestinians being active within their society, either through awareness raising or through education. Today, she says, she looks differently at reality.

When speaking about the voluntary aspect of ‘Community in Action’, she says: volunteering is the best thing that ever happened to me! Volunteering as part of a bi-national group in different frameworks in Jaffa was by far the most meaningful experience I was a part of. I am still working in Al-Achuwa’s youth center based on the belief that education is the most effective tool to change society.

After Sadaka-Reut I understood that we need to lead change on the ground, although I still have barriers to do just that. Today I have the ability to go out to the world and speak to a random person about equality or about the occupation. I am capable of voicing my opinions and taking a stand. And for me that is the biggest change I went through at Sadaka-Reut.