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Hope for The future in Gaza

My name is Khaled* and I live in Gaza.

I teach metal work skills to young men at the Vocational Training Centre in Gaza run by the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees.

In my work I see many young men who have nothing to do each day. It’s easy to feel trapped here. And I know that without training young people will become lost with no purpose to life.

Richard Wainwright / Act for Peace Image Frame
We try and give a place to as many young men as possible. When a teenager first comes in we ask him simple questions like what he would like to do in the future. Some of the young men want to gain skills for personal use or to get a job in a workshop and others have a goal of starting their own business and making a living out of the trade.
It takes three years to complete the metal work course. The first year is theory in the classroom before the work becomes hands-on in the workshop. The young men are wild when they first start! Most of them have fallen out  of school and it is hard to control them. At the start they get really exhausted trying to manage the workload but then I see how quickly they change and adapt. With time, you can feel the difference in their behaviour and their  personality as they develop more discipline. Eventually you see the positive transformation in their character.
In the final two years, the students do practical skills training in the workshop and get on-the-job experience working in businesses for almost two months of the final year. They are also trained in job seeking skills so that when they graduate they’re ready for the real world. It is a good place for these young men to be, if they didn’t have training they wouldn’t have a life. This gives them a purpose and they can make a living and help support their families.
Thank you for supporting this school because you are giving my students hope when they have been through so much. And yes, you have given me hope, too.

 - Khaled

* Names have been changed to protect identities

Prayer Points:
• Give thanks for the opportunities created for youth in Gaza that will bring new skills, work and economic opportunity.
• Pray for an end to the cycle of conflict in Gaza giving communities the opportunity to rebuild their lives.

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The 2014 war in Gaza brought further devastation to lives already burdened by conflict and disaster. The longstanding blockade of Gaza continues to stifle economic growth and development for more than 1.7 million people. Despite these immense challenges, young men and women continue to pursue learning opportunities as a step towards a better life.

Act for Peace’s partner in Gaza, the Department of Service for Palestinian Refugees – Near East Council of Churches (DSPR-NECC) has been running vocational training programs in Palestine since the 1950s in a variety of trades including metal, aluminium and electrical work, dress making, carpentry and furniture making, secretarial studies and advanced English language courses. Beyond the skills people gain, the vocational training programs are instrumental in building self-confidence, and a positive outlook for youth in Gaza.

The vocational training program’s goal is to deliver highly skilled and competent graduates who are linked to employment opportunities in the marketplace. The flow-on effect is higher income prospects and greater economic security through
paid employment and the establishment of new small businesses. With decades of experience, well established training centres and numerous success stories, Act for Peace’s partner DSPR-NECC creates much needed hope for disadvantaged youth in Gaza.

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