Online Yearbook Presents Palestinian Students’ Future Dreams
Palestinian schoolgirls light up with excitement when talking about the types of careers they want to pursue after graduation from secondary school. "I want to study medicine and serve my people," May Tameem explains. She is one of the thousands Palestinian students participating in a workshop organised by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) and the UK-based NGO, Hoping Foundation.
May is in the ninth grade and is about to graduate from UNRWA’s Al-Faloujeh school in Yarmouk, a refugee camp located on the outskirts of Damascus.
The Hoping Foundation has created an online yearbook for UNRWA schools that enables students to upload a 30-second video outlining their hopes and dreams for the future, which is then shared with others around the world.
"The idea is to make an easily accessible yearbook, so that students and their peers can keep up-to-date with each other after they have left secondary school. The school children were impressed by the idea that their messages are passed online to all around the world", project officer Hamza Azimeh says.
UNRWA students in Gaza, West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria participated in the workshop. Several well-known artists also contributed to the yearbook project, including novelist Philip Pullman and artist Nick Cave.
The yearbook was launched in commemoration of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Convention was signed twenty years ago, in November 1989. The governments involved pledged to follow the charter's specified regulations in order to provide a dignified future for all of the world's children.
The yearbook manifesto seeks to highlight the difference that the convention has made in the lives of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugee children. "We have a good library and a well-equipped computer here in Al-Faloujeh," Rua’a Abd Al-Razah exclaims. Her dream is to complete the honours level in her high school.
"I think we have the same chances in life as Syrian students have," Rua’a says.
UNRWA Year Book website
Text and photos by Karoliina Romanoff