Hello, my name is Amin Abdelaziz, I am a 20-year-old student studying Law at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom and I have just completed the Volunteering with Refugees program at Go Palestine. My experience volunteering in Hebron, Palestine was very different from my other volunteering experiences. Volunteering in Hebron was an eye-opening experience for me, even as a Palestinian who knows fully well the extent of the occupation, I witnessed first-hand the hardships that everyday Palestinians face here. Something as simple as going to the mosque to pray is restricted with checkpoints and Israeli soldiers interrogations. However, contrary to popular belief, I have never felt unsafe in Hebron. If anything, I feel more unsafe back in England! Hebronites are very lovely and respectable people who love foreigners! I have heard ‘Welcome to Hebron!’ countless times. Palestinian hospitality is incredible; you may even receive free coffee or food from local shops!
I have never taught English and although I was nervous at the start, that feeling quickly subsided when I taught my first class. The students were attentive and eager to learn and I was impressed by their willingness to learn another language. This seemed strange to me as a boy who has grown up in the Western World, I have always heard my fellow classmates complaining that they don’t want to go to school! I told the Palestinian students about this and their response shocked me. They said that education is the strongest weapon you can have to fight the occupation. I will forever remember that statement and will always be grateful for the things I have and for the things I take for granted.
Moreover, whenever I needed assistance, the staff at Go Palestine were always ready to give a hand which I found very beneficial. They have helped me plan and guide my first few lessons.
I must also say that the staff went above and beyond my expectations by organizing various activities from visiting the majestic glass factory to arranging meetings with different Palestinian families and speaking to them about their experiences. They have even cooked traditional Palestinian food for us which was delicious. My favourite activity was exploring the old city of Hebron and the Ibrahimi mosque as well as speaking to Palestinian lawyers and discovering the origin of Palestinian law.
My three weeks volunteering have unfortunately come to an end, I have had so much fun teaching the students in Dura, Al Arroub Camp and at the Centre and I really wish them well and I hope they succeed in life. I definitely recommend Go Palestine for anyone who wants to give a hand for the less fortunate. Volunteering and teaching English really does make a difference in people’s lives and they appreciate you for that.