Background to BUILDING HOPE
Over the past few years, CADFA (a human rights charity based in CADFA, London) has organised very successful exchanges (group visits) between Palestine and the UK. These have been very special learning experiences for everyone concerned – the participants, the people they come in contact with, the organisations that take part, the friends and family of everyone involved.
This last summer, with Covid restrictions fading into the past, CADFA has managed to organise two visits to the UK (Palestinian youth workers, Palestinian young people) and after two very happy groups of people left, the UK team got together to review what had happened. Lots of fun had been had, lots of places visited, but more deeply this was a serious way of taking Palestinian voices (usually not heard) round to many different groups and organisations – school classes and assemblies, youth clubs and community organisations – and, wherever the groups went, raising awareness of the current situation for young people in Palestine and encouraging people to work for human rights.
The Palestinian visitors were excited to get out of the confined spaces they are allowed to live in under Israeli occupation, and (young people in particular) amazed to be away from checkpoints, settlements, military invasions into local towns…. They carried with them the terrible stories that young Palestinians always do, of tear gas and bullets in the streets, army around the school door, separated families with relatives on the other side of impassable military walls… People they met listened, were shocked, wanted to hear more and wanted to join them in working for human rights in Palestine. Everywhere that the visitors went, people asked for them to come back, wanted them to stay for longer, wanted them to visit different organisations, and had ideas for new activities.
So the idea of BUILDING HOPE was born: the plan to scale up the visits and run them more regularly, all over the country. The next visits planned are for university students in January, women in March and school students in June-July – each group to a different part of the country, to take the Palestinian voices and the energy of the visit to a different audience. CADFA are partnering with a number of organisations across the country to make this happen, and are looking for new partners, new energy, new sponsors, new volunteers.
In September, BUILDING HOPE was launched in Palestine at Al Quds University in Palestine, and on 15th October, it will be launched in the UK at Café Palestina in London. Then there will be launches across England and Wales – the list of events will be on the website cadfa.org.