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Nablus Association for Social and Community Development and its project “Darna”

Contributed by Armando Gaetaniello on 09.07.2009:

Who are we?

Nablus Association for Social and Community Development and its project “Darna” for Youth and Citizens Initiatives is considered as house of civil institutions, and the foster of youth talents, skills, and Innovations.

The Association was able through its project “Darna”, to build a strong relationship between Nablus associations and institutions, through its cultural and social services to the community.

Some of its services are to provide training rooms, fax services, internet, projectors and LCDs to more than 86 associations in Nablus, without distinction of race, sex or religious believes.

Our goals:

• To give the opportunity to civil associations, to get to know other institutions and deepen the relationship with local, Arab and international associations.

• To adopt and develop youth creative and elite ideas and projects.

• To promote the culture of the positive voluntary work among youth.

• To support Palestinian university students, as they are the pillars of the future.

• To involve people with special needs in our projects and programs.

• To transfer the real and honest image of our people and institutions to the outside world.

Our projects and programs:

Believing that there are no limits to work constructively to serve the community, we were able to succeed in various critical areas, through diverse programs.

The International Tourism Solidarity Program:

The aim of this program by hosting international delegations and volunteers is to transfer the real image of the suffering and dreams of the Palestinian people in general and the people of Nablus in particular.

This Program also focuses on informing the visitors about the archaeological and old sites of Nablus and its refugee camps, and the conditions of the difficult situation in the city, also to show them the real situation of the Palestinians in their daily life at the checkpoints all around the city of Nablus.

What is special in this program is to provide accommodation for those visitors between Palestinian families, so they get to know and learn the Palestinian culture and customs, in addition to the World Youth Exchange Activities aimed at creating mutual relations and experiences.

The Economic Solidarity program:

This program exists to promote the economic solidarity of local goods and products, especially the Palestinian Nabulsi Zhorat, soap, books and embroidery, which aims to support and revitalize the spirit of the economic movement in the city of Nablus, especially that the old city lives in marginalization and economic stagnation because of the difficult conditions, also in addition to the security conditions of siege, closures and curfews aimed at the city especially in the late hours of the night.

For this, Darna centre took in consideration a lot of attention to these products and goods by delivering them to the outside world, through exporting and selling them to foreigners and solidarity volunteers.

The Music Program:

In the music program, we train a number of students to different musical arts, believing in the creative energies of youth, to develop their musical talents, because music is a universal language that knows no borders and does not believe in obstacles and barriers.

Through this program, the centre has organized a series of training courses under the supervision of a number of local and foreign teachers, mostly from our partner the National Conservatory of Music of Edward Said in Ramallah, through its music lab in Nablus Association for Social and Community Development and its project “Darna” for Youth and Citizens Initiatives.

Computer and internet program:

The program focuses on young people and citizens and institutions by facilitating their search and access to technical information, news, etc., and work to refine their hobbies involving them in training courses based on nominal fees, mostly free.

This stems from the awareness of the association about the need of openness to the world under the age of information and technical advances which made the world look like a small village.

Media and Press program:

This program works to monitor and document the activities carried out by the association, and delivering its objectives and activities to the public institutions, considering that media is the mirror that reflects the true picture of the institutions’ work and events.

We highlight our activities pool by publishing the monthly newsletter, and we communicate with all the institutions by translating their news and sending them to those who are interested, also by keep in touch with the local and international volunteers through the Youth Media Forum which is based in Nablus Association for Social and Community Development and its project “Darna” for Youth and Citizens Initiatives.

Public and electronic library program:

The Public and electronic library is considered as one of the basic units in the association, where volunteers and university students visit us everyday to borrow different kind of books, literary, cultural, language and academic books, the goal of this, is to create the knowledge of the meaning of equality, democracy and the preservation of the environment, to create a generation who believes in freedom of opinion, respects the cultures of others, to create a generation who also believes in reading, writing and believes that the best friend in life is the book.

What makes the library so special during these months, is the visits of university students to borrow books for the entire semester, which also provides them from economic burdens by buying books from the bookshops.

Beside the books library, there is a virtual library, which includes cassettes and CD’s that contain many different educational and cultural subjects.

Free housing for university students:

We came out with this program to alleviate the economic difficulties of the university students; this program includes two sections, one is for male students, and the other is for female students who have come from different cities and where selected to live in the students houses due to their difficult situation.

The students’ houses were provided with all the materials needed to develop their talents and skills.

What makes the students houses so special is that there are some blind students living with other sighted ones, and they were able to create a musical band together.

Training Courses program:

The general philosophy of the association focuses on preparing an informed and open-minded generation of youth, through its different activities and training courses, benefiting from them various groups of volunteers, school and university students.

The program includes courses of foreign languages, computer education, popular and musical arts, in addition to workshops aimed at summer camps children during school holidays.

Reserving rooms for workshops and meetings of community organizations:

Nablus Association for Social and Community Development, and its project “Darna” for Youth and Citizens Initiatives is interested in hosting events and activities of various community halls, and serves many services to the community and associations and other institutions by lending computers, projectors and other stuff, to hold workshops, meetings and seminars.

And the meetings and workshops are on the following topics:

• Culture of democracy and human rights.

• The role of youth in decision-making and making a difference.

• Culture of peace, dialogue and accept the other.

• Issues related to community education, music and people with special needs.

• Contemporary media and its role in social and cultural change.

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