Volunteerism


OK for those of you that read my post about my birthday celebrations and want to partake I have an update. There is a lot of coordination and collaboration involved in making these things happen so I would like to thank everyone who expressed interest in joining me and more importantly those of you helping me make my thirty second birthday a celebration of us rather than me. And so here are the various events and ideas that all or any of you can help in and by doing so give me a fantastically rewarding birthday:

 

  1. Jabal Al Qalga Kite making and flying with the kids of the neighborhood with Hamzet Wasel Initiative
  2. Renovating and fixing of Women’s Center in Gaza Camp in Jerash with V-team Initiative
  3. Undecided event with Zikra Initiative
  4. Buy a tree and plant it in Palestine with APN – Arab Group for the Protection of Nature (http://www.apnature.org)
  5. Give me your old clothes, recyclable paper, tins and plastic and I will send them to a community center or the recycling center
  6. And finally for those that just want to hang out a walk in Jabal Amman and a walk in Jabal Al Weibeh (two of my favorite places in the city) the weekend following my birthday

 

 

I will post more info these initiatives and events and include dates, times, places and costs this coming week. And for those of you on Facebook I will create events for them. All are welcome even if I don’t know you and you want to do these things Ahlan Wa Sahlan.

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I will soon be 32 and I have been asked what I want for my birthday whether it be for celebrations or for gifts. These questions got me thinking about past birthdays and gifts and what they’ve meant to me. I’ve done the crazy parties with the cakes and sparklers and massive amounts of booze, the traveling for my birthday and the quiet dinners. But this year I want something different, and I know exactly what I want.

This year what I want involves none of the above in any way, shape or form. This year I do not want any parties in bars or restaurants or cafes. I do not want any celebrations with cake, or alcohol or food. I do not want all that money spent for such a selfish and self centered purpose. My birthday! There have been many and who knows there may be many more too. But I do not want to be the excuse for a night of drunken revelry, I do not want massive amounts of food consumed at some lavish dinner in an expensive restaurant, I do not want anyone to go out of their way for me to celebrate in frivolity a day that comes a long often enough and there is really nothing special about it except that I popped out from between my mother’s legs like thousands if not millions of others on that day.

I do not want any gifts either not matter how big or small, grand or symbolic for I have enough stuff in my life and I am trying to get rid of a lot of it! There is nothing I really need at this moment in time and the things I want I can do without. So thank you but no thank you.

When I made these declarations to my friends their faces were so puzzled, confused and some were upset and said that was unacceptable! And so I told them that what would make me happy instead was for them to do something selfless, something that gives back to the community, something outside themselves and me.

One of my favorite quotes is “Be the change you want to see in the world” by Ghandi and this year this is what I want for my birthday. And so to celebrate I want organize an event that gives back to the community in some way or form. That recognizes the pleasure in working together to make a difference. If there is any money to be spent then it would be on the event and it should go towards your local community. And if you insist on giving me a gift then make a donation in my name to an organization that makes a difference to people’s lives like a cancer foundation, orphanages, NGOs that work on community development, and if you don’t want to give cash then clean out your closet and give the things you don’t want to people who can use them like the Gaza aid souk or the King Hussein center for the mentally disabled, or Ruwwad in Jabal Al Natheef, if you want to do this and don’t know how give me a call and I can help you or just drop things off with me and I can take care of it. Spend a day volunteering. If even that is too much trouble then just do something nice for a stranger in the street, it can be that simple.

If you still insist on giving me something personal then give me a good memory. Walk with me in the streets or Jabal Amman, come over and watch a movie, let’s have a good conversation, send me a letter or an email or help me paint a new bookcase I’m getting, take a picture and send it to me. I will also personally be arranging an outdoor activity that will focus on giving something back to the world we live in. Let me know if you want to be part of that activity, it will make me really happy to spend time with my friends doing something along those lines and I will post it here once the details are sorted out.

Help me be the change I want to see in this world we live in and embody some of the ideals and beliefs that I have. Yes I am an idealist and to some I may be foolish, but I think we can make a difference one small step at a time. Will you walk with me?

When the assault on Gaza was taking place something clicked. It wasn’t expected, it wasn’t planned for, and it just happened. It happened here, it happened there, it happened just about everywhere. People were outraged, as they always are, but this outrage manifested itself differently. People did not just sit at home and lament the latest Israeli tantrum. People poured out into the streets and took that outrage into action.

There were demonstrations, there were donation drives, there were organized activities, the blogosphere went crazy. People mobilized themselves and others in a way and with such determination that I had never seen before. But now what?

The energy that was generated was used in very productive and proactive ways at the time but now three weeks after Israel “withdrew” that energy is nowhere to be seen. Activism is not a way of life here. We are not volunteers by nature. Yet this experience has proved we have what it takes to make a difference in each other’s lives and in the lives of those we don’t know. So why cant we keep up the momentum? Why do we only have to react and respond to emergencies? Can we not build this kind of community today and sustain it?

I have a friend who made a comment that sticks with me and is very relevant “why do we have to volunteer for death, cant we work for life?”

This is being circulated around the web and came into my inbox. We need to be vocal we need to be visible we need to use logical rhetoric. I am reposting their email that calls all of us to action. View their work so far and see how you can help!

 

Thanks.

S.

 

Dear friends,


We are a group of Arab women from Jordan who have come together in
response to the vicious attacks by Israel on Gaza. Our aim is to spread awareness across the globe on the atrocities and encourage all responsible citizens to act in the name of humanity. Help us give voice to those who have been silenced by doing the following: 

 1. Visit our YouTube links and rate us positively!

We need your views so we can become the first Arab youtube clip to get onto the most viewed page
The YouTube clips address the following:
On the Humanitarian Situation

On Israel’s Violations of Humanitarian Law
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxZoiYvNuqw&NR=1

On the Media Spin
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-8GqHL2J-I&feature=related

Our Call to Action
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAonLJHEuak

 

2. Forward this message to all your friends and encourage them to do the same! Make sure everyone you know watches these videos!

 3. Join our Facebook group and share our videos with your friends!

4.  Add our links on your website and/or blogs.

5.  View our Call to Action episode on You Tube on the 30th of January 2009 so that we may reach our goal of becoming the most viewed clip on YouTube so as to give the crisis in Gaza the exposure it desperately needs.

 

We need your support! Please help us! For more information, please
email at
voicesforpalestine@gmail.com

In solidarity,
Voices for Palestine
www.voicesforpalestine.com

 

The idea has caught on and The Palestinian Cultural Center (PCC), a centre that works to raise funds and send to Palestine, is having a souq. The souq is similar in style to the AID Gaza Souq that ran a couple of weekends ago (or was it last weekend?). The will be selling various items from food to table cloths, runners, cushions, ornaments, accessories… etc. They will also sell items donated by you the public in a garage sale.

 

So if you have anything around the house you don’t need, don’t want, or can spare and it is in good condition then donate to them. All donations and proceeds will go to Aiding Gaza in its huge reconstruction efforts.

 

When: February 3rd but please send your donations before then.

Time: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Where: The PCC in Rabieh

Contact info: 06 551 47 51

 

The struggle is not over and emergency relief is only part of the battle. Help Gaza today donate your items and go shop at the souq. Make a difference in someone else’s life!

On Saturday January 17 2009 a community got together and donated time, effort and goods to Gaza. When I arrived I expected to see a few stalls and a few people instead I saw every possible space at the YWCA filled with stalls goods and people.

 

Young and old had volunteered to do various roles from setting up the shoe throwing game, to selling raffle tickets, young musicians had volunteered their voices for a concert and the stalls were filled with various wares from used books to handmade jewelry and such. Stall proceeds were pledged to the cause and they ranged from 100% to 10% of profits and proceeds going to Gaza. The goal was to raise JD 1000 to use for medical supplies and goods.

 

After seven hours of giving and taking, after a lot of running around, people started to tidy up and put away their wares. Happily tired volunteers were packing what little was left of the donations that came through for sale. And as the money was being counted we quickly realized we had exceeded our expectations of JD 1000. Slowly we counted 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000, and 5555 Jordanian Dinars (USD7845) in sales, proceeds, and donations ALL GOING TO GAZA.

 

Well done, one and all! Well done to every one that pitched in, to everyone that brought or made something to sell and to everyone that brought their wallets and emptied them out.  I would also like to thank the women behind this event (this event was initiated and run and 90% manned by women from the community).

 

In my opinion, what we saw that day was amazing and worth much more in human spirit and generosity. The community came together and it didn’t matter where they were from, what religion they were, what color or creed, what nationality. That day we were all humans out to help other humans in need. Thank you for reaffirming to me that humanity still exists in this ever growing and alienating city.

I got this in my inbox recently and I thought it will be helpful to those in Jordan. I do not have contact info so try the website in the poster or go to the event on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=54389778063

 

 

Souq Gaza on Sat 17th from 10am – 3pm.

Souq for Gaza: People have been calling and asking

How they can help and what they can donate?

So here’s an initial response

 

First, it’s easiest to start with what will NOT sell  

Please do NOT donate clothes / shoes  / blankets etc we cannot handle it at the souq

 

What will sell, what should you donate?

The best GUIDELINE is: Would YOU buy it?  Would someone you know buy it?

 

After discussions here’s a list of things we think might sell and that YOU might donate  We will group them to sell:

·         Unwanted gifts / Handcrafts  (JD5 upwards)

·         Books:  recent, interesting (JD2 upwards)

·         Movies / Music CDs DVDs ¡V but NOT pirated please  

·         Food:  Bottles / tins  /jars / packets  (eg local olive oil)  (JD3 upwards )

·         Cakes, cookies ¡V homemade for our coffee shop

·         Household goods / used but still desirable: pots, dishes, pans, vases, framed pictures, lamps

 

We will try to get the most money possible for your item. So give us a guideline price. At the end of the day, whatever is not sold, we will sort and decide: what to keep for the next sale (there will be a re-launch of souq soon we hope) and what to hand over to Entity Green Training for recycling.

 

Tasks you can take on

  • Walking round the souq collecting money in buckets
  • Running the raffle / tombola
  • Helping us pack up the souq at the end of the day (3:00- 4.30)
  • Organizing your friends and YOU run a stall

 

Institutions

If you work for an institution, then please mobilize ¡V you have huge networks of influence. Get you staff to run a stall: treat it as a team-building, management training exercise.


“How you spend your money is how you vote on what exists in the world.”

 

 

 

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