Case study 1

Habibah (20) grew up in Aqabat Jaber Refugee Camp. Conditions there are traumatic, but the family managed to get by. However, when her father suddenly left them, the family found themselves without any support. They became destitute and hungry, and fearful for their futures. Their mother was never allowed to work before, yet suddenly she became the sole custodian of her daughters’ futures. This family break-down caused Habibah to lose her sense of self-worth.

Her mother didn’t give up on her daughters though, and started to work very long hours as a cleaner to make sure that they could finish school. Habibah felt terrible for becoming a burden on her mother, but was also grateful for her sacrifices. She decided that she wanted to make things better for her family and herself, so joined the YMCA Vocational Training Centre to learn IT and graphic design.

“When I joined the YMCA, I was fully broken inside. I was strangled by my circumstances. At the YMCA, I found people who supported me, and it was then that I realised that I am not alone in the world. I received one-to-one counselling as well as group therapy to help me deal with my sadness. But what really made a huge difference was the training I got in life skills, civic education, and in a vocation. The trainings really gave me the confidence to feel that I can make a change.”

Habibah graduated from the Vocational Training Centre and now works at a private school as an arts teacher. In addition to teaching the students, she is also teaching other teachers how to use graphic design programmes.

“Now I can look after my family and provide for some of their needs. We have moved to a better house and it feels great to contribute actively to my family and to society. I have a big dream now. I will work hard in order to have my own work shop for graphics design, and I will train other girls from my area so we can work together.”

These case studies give examples of young women students such as those the DSMT has been sponsoring since 2007 on vocational training programmes run through the East Jerusalem YMCA and the Vocational Training Centre, Jericho.

*In accordance with Y Care International’s Protection of Vulnerable Young People’s Policy, all names of beneficiaries featured in these case studies have been changed.