Youth Working for an Alternative – community campaign in the mixed city of Jaffa
For this summer, we chose to work in the center of our activities – in the mixed city of Jaffa. This five thousand year old city, an important trade and cultural center before 1948, has become the neglected suburb of Tel Aviv. Today, the city suffers from poverty, crime and weak Arab-Jewish relations.
With the ‘Leaders for Change’ team, we organized this camp as an assortment of activities, aimed at raising awareness on the possibility of joint Arab-Jewish work in various fields. This community campaign was preceded by a five-day long leadership seminar for youth, where participants were trained in different forms of joint activism (media work, social activism and more). Moreover, multiple youth groups were established in order to plan and prepare work for several of the activities. This experience allowed the youth to develop as young social leaders, taught them to work together and set a positive example for their community of young people.
The activities included the production of 4 large murals in the streets of Jaffa, street poetry, physical renovations in different community buildings, a children’s summer camp for 50 local Palestinian kids from disadvantaged families and street theater. Another group of youth took upon itself to raise awareness among the local community as to Arab-Jewish relations in Jaffa. A major part of the group’s role was to advertise the Arab-Jewish youth event that took place at the end of the campaign. Produced by the movement’s youth council, the event included concerts, workshops and cultural activities in an atmosphere of Arab Jewish partnership and cooperation.
It is important to mention that all materials and resources for the summer campaign were recruited from the local community – paint for the murals, construction materials, plants for gardening, food for the participants and even lodging for the youth coming from around the country. Without the generosity of the community, we would not have been able to hold this camp.