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solidarity tourism in Nablus
   
submitted by Armando Gaetaniello
30.07.2009

Solidarity tourism in Palestine: a project of the Darna Center, Nablus

Description
This project aims to host groups of people who want to visit Palestine and to organize tours for them. The project focuses on Nablus area but visits and activities can also be organized in the rest of the West Bank. According to the visitors' interests the program can include visits of holy places, historical sites, associations, tours focused on social and political issues.

Objectives
- To create tourism opportunities in Palestine and more particularly in Nablus. This six-thousand-year-old city is part of the UNESCO patrimony of humanity. Nevertheless the city suffers a lot from the closures and the tourism opportunities are very limited.
- To bring internationals in Nablus, to let them meet Palestinians and exchange about their culture, experiences and daily life.
- To give the opportunity to internationals to discover in their own eyes the reality of the occupation.
- To create solidarity between Palestinians and internationals.

Darna Center:

DARNA is a house of associations supporting the initiatives citizens in Nablus, more particularly young people. The main objective of DARNA is to reinforce the communal identity and the social cohesion among the youth of Nablus and other provinces.

Created as a practical tool to help Palestinian youth and their associations to develop themselves and promote a sense of community, DARNA gives the associations a space for networking and practical training and provides logistical supplies such as internet access, a library, and offices. The center also facilitates a variety of social and cultural actions and activities, including European-Arab training and exchange programs.

DARNA is unique among Palestinian NGOs, gathering more than 86 associations in Nablus, as well as networks of associations and individuals in France and Morocco. It receives governmental support from the French Foreign Ministry.


DARNA also works hard to promote the city of Nablus culturally and economically through encouraging and supporting the exportation of locally-made olive oil soap, Nablus' most products for over a thousand years. DARNA exported five tons of this soap to France, Belgium, Switzerland, England and Austria in 2005.

What we offer

Our visitors will discover the beauty of our city, its countryside, its culture and traditions. They will also get to know the inhabitants of Nablus, the camps and the surrounding villages, facing countless difficulties but still with an amazing will to live. Through these visits we hope to establish personal relationship between our guests and the Nablusi society, so that our compatriots can feel that not the whole world turns away from us, and that a lot of people are interested to meet us. We also hope we can pass on our message of peace and our will to live. You will visit Nablus as you would visit one of your friends, in great conviviality.

The visits and activities will be organized within an alternative approach of tourism, based on solidarity, including a lot of exchanges with the local people, fair trade and sustainable development matters.

All the visits are done with a professional guide and local volunteers sharing their knowledge of the province.
Visit packages:
The visitors can choose within three standard packages, according to their interests and their time. If none of them is suitable, they can also ask and arrange in advance a special "à la carte" stay with the coordinator. Accommodation, transportation and traditional food are included with the price.

1. Short stay (one day and a half):
First day:
- tour in the old city of Nablus,
- lunch in a traditional restaurant,
- tour in one of the refugee camps of Nablus,
- Evening meeting (family, workers, associations, students, etc.),
- Night in a hotel, in a shared flat or in a host family.
Second day:
- Tour in Al-Najah University or visit of the Samaritans.

2. Medium stay (2 days):
First day:
- tour in the old city of Nablus,
- lunch in a traditional restaurant,
- tour in one of the refugee camps of Nablus,
- Evening meeting (family, workers, associations, students, etc.),
- Night in a hotel, in a shared flat or in a host family.
Second day:
- visit of Sabastya,
- tour in Al Najah University or visit of the Samaritans,
- dabka show (traditional Palestinian dance).

3. Long stay (4 days):
First day:
- Arabic language introduction,
- activity in an organization working in the field chosen by the visitors,
- Tour in the old city of Nablus.
Second day:
- Cooking workshop,
- tour in Sabastya,
- meeting and dinner with a women association,
- Evening meeting (family, workers, associations, students, etc.).
Third day:
- Irak Burin village,
- traditional lunch in Burin,
- tour in one of the refugee camps of Nablus,
- Dabka show (traditional Palestinian dance).
Fourth day
- Badhan valley,
- Tour in Al-Najah University.
Tours in the West bank
If our guests wish so, we can organize tours to every city or place of interest in the West bank (Bethlehem, Ramallah, Hebron, Jericho, Jenine…).

Accommodation
Accommodation can be provided in hotels or shared flats, but we also offer our guests the possibility to be hosted in families, either in the Old City or in Askar or Balata Refugee Camps. Staying in a family will give you the opportunity to experience the hearty welcome of Palestinian people, to discover Palestinian traditions and habits and to establish a personal relationship that can enable you to ask questions in an informal way.

Contacts and proceeding
If you are interested in visiting us, please send an email to info@darna-nablus.ps
Or call us: 00972 - 92379312
You can get more information about our activities through our website: www.darna-nablus.ps

Services in Darna:
- coordination and help for visits of other provinces,
- local and traditional products and handicrafts display,
- little library about Palestinian history, geography, politics, novels,
- Internet access.

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