YOUR MAy peace mail from Gaza
I am writing to you from Gaza. I am 19 and finished high school a year ago. In Gaza, we can’t leave this place so it’s hard for us.
Ben Littlejohn/Act for Peace
We are lucky in many ways – we survived the wars, we have beautiful people and a beach, but sometimes you want to go out and see what the world is like. People here, they are poor but on the other hand they have good minds, they have education, good education, they were educated in a proper way and they just need a chance.
I think that people here, deep inside, are broken. In every neighbourhood, in every street you can find a home destroyed or someone who has lost their beloved one. I have lived through three wars and lost my uncle in the most recent war. He wasn’t in any political party or armed group, he was just a normal citizen. There is a loss in every family. But people try their best to remain strong and brave.
I finished high school in 2015. I didn’t have anything to do after school and my dad told me that I was wasting my time and I should learn new things. He told me to go to NECC (Near East Council of Churches, Act for Peace’s partner in Gaza). They have a 1 year vocational training course that covers computer skills, language skills for the workplace (in English and formal Arabic), and book keeping to prepare you for secretarial or administration work.
I was in a class with 21 other girls. I didn’t like computers before but I learned MS Office programs and touch typing. We all learned English, formal Arabic and learned to translate back and forth. I learned basic book keeping and management. We had great teachers who made learning fun and showed us not to be afraid. The teachers and the girls have many memories together. We laughed a lot. It was a great year.
I finished the vocational training course with 90% average result. It was good. The NECC called me and told me they have a job opportunity. I was like, ‘Holy me!’ I was so excited. I called my parents to tell them.
The job I have now is really fun. The organisation has a translating section and when they have tons of work they tell me: “Irena, come and translate” and I’m like, “okay, why not?” And I go translate because I took these skills at NECC. Sometimes I fill reports for the manager. I fill them in in a proper way because we learned at NECC how to write reports.
It is good for me to work here. I get to meet new people and learn new things. Thank you for your gifts that gave me this opportunity. I would love to see Gaza at peace and see people living a happy life. I really don’t want to see people here hurting or see them wanting something from anyone. I love to help people; I love to see everyone happy.
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The unemployment rate in young people in Gaza is 60%. They dream of learning a skill, looking after their families and making a happy life for themselves. Due to Gaza’s long blockade and the recent devastating war, jobs and opportunities for training are scarce. It can be easy for young people to feel lost and purposeless. Despite this, many are determined to learn the skills they need to support themselves and their families.
With your support, Act for Peace’s partner in Gaza – The Near East Council of Churches - has been running vocational training programs in Palestine since the 1950s. They teach a variety of trades including metal, aluminium and electrical work, dressmaking, carpentry and furniture making, secretarial studies and advanced English language courses.
The vocational training program’s goal is to deliver highly skilled and competent graduates who are linked to employment opportunities in the marketplace – just like Irena. The flow-on effect is improved income prospects and greater economic security. Thank you, you are creating much needed hope for disadvantaged youth in Gaza.
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