Saturday, October 10, 2015

WCLAC: Same vision, different backgrounds

Meet the new team of volunteers working at WCLAC for the next 10 weeks...


After graduating from university in 2013 and having spent the past year and a half volunteering with the Citizens Advice Bureau and working in a law firm, I needed a change. I've wanted to work with underrepresented people for quite some time and this is the main goal I am hoping to achieve during my placement with WCLAC. I'm passionate about women's rights and am really looking forward to working with some truly inspirational people at the Women's centre in their campaign to bring about change for women in the oPt.

We arrived almost three weeks ago and met our in-country counterparts at the training session the following day. We were introduced to day to day life here in the oPt and what we were hoping to achieve within our projects. The muslim holiday Eid al-Adha began the day after training and we were able to enjoy some of the festivities. The in-country volunteers brought in some traditional Eid sweets called ka'ak bi ma'moul for us to try which were delicious!


I volunteered with ICS because I want to make a difference in my community and myself but I lack the tools and methods to achieve it and that’s what I hope ICS will do for me.

Eid is an arabic word that means holiday or festival, muslims have two major Eids ( Eid al-Ftir & Eid al-Adha). Two weeks ago it was Eid al-Adha which means the Festival of Sacrifice, during this holiday we wake up early and go to pray in the mosque, in our case we went to the Aqsa mosque. Praying is more beautiful during Eid because a lot of people will come from all over Palestine to pray in this mosque and most people are happy and wearing new clothes. After prayer we start saying “ALLAH AKBAR…” with each other, thousands in this case. After this spiritual experience we go home and those who are considered quite wealthy will sacrifice a goat or a sheep and distribute some of it to the poor. My family and I went to visit our sisters, aunts and of course the children, who in my eyes enjoy this holiday the most, and we gave them money (edya). The children play all day long and get money from their relatives so they can then buy a lot of new toys and spend Eid playing cops and robbers with their cousins and friends.

Eid is a time to remember your family especially the women if you had forgot about them, and also to remember the poor and those who are in need. It is also a time to remember Abraham and his faith and sacrifice. I think if they want to change the name of the holiday they should name it Holiday of Remembrance.


Helping people was always something I looked for, I tried several ways and when I heard about ICS I thought it would be a good opportunity. Besides, volunteering provides new experiences, friendships, and it develops both your character and community.

WCLAC was established to help women who are abused or are suffering due to domestic violence. They also aim to raise awareness among women of their rights. We are volunteering to help this centre in several areas such as: translating and proofreading documents and case studies, hosting workshops, developing proposals for fundraising and other tasks. We will be helping the main centre as well as some of its branches and grass-roots organisations supported by WCLAC.


Having volunteered at several Legal Aid centres back home in the UK, I was particularly inspired by the work that WCLAC does for Women in Palestine and the issues that they face on a daily basis. Since arriving, we have heard lots of inspirational stories from women living in the oPT speaking out about their horrific experiences in order to try and change attitudes towards gender-based violence.

Over the next few weeks we are planning to facilitate a number of outreach workshops for groups of men and women. The purpose of these workshops is to raise awareness of gender-based violence and to help break the silence on domestic abuse by encouraging people to speak more openly about it. This week we had planned to meet grassroots partner-organisations. Unfortunately, it has been harder to travel currently so we have not gone to visit yet. We have decided to use this time wisely by researching crowdfunding platforms in order to raise money for extra beds at WCLAC’s emergency protection shelter.

We’re excited to get stuck into the project and see how we can support the vital work of the centre.

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