East Jerusalem YMCA

Contact Information

Andre Batarseh
General Secretary
The East Jerusalem YMCA
29 Nablus Road
P. O. Box 19023
East Jerusalem
abatarseh@ej-ymca.org

Phone: +972(0) 262 86888
Fax: +972(0) 262 76301
Website: www.ej-ymca.org

Vision Statement

The East-Jerusalem YMCA aspires to the formulation of a national ecumenical identity that is widely open to the Palestinian community in order to enjoy healthy physical, emotional and spiritual development and so participate in the transformation of the life of their community and wider society in a free and democratic Palestine..

Mission Statement

The East-Jerusalem YMCA is a non-profit community-based Christian association whose mission is to build and empower individuals and communities by offering programmes that develop a healthy spirit, mind, and body based on Christian principals. Centered on our core values of caring, honesty, respect, dignity, justice and responsibility, the East-Jerusalem YMCA is an association that practices inclusion for all ages, incomes, abilities, races, religions, ethnicities, and genders. The East-Jerusalem YMCA strives to identify and assess the needs of the Palestinian community in an effort to develop programmes that address identified aspirations of youth and families.

Values & Beliefs

The East Jerusalem YMCA is committed to its new social vision as well as to the development of its strategies that respond to this vision. This will ensure the EJ-YMCA’s determination to contribute, as an organization, to affirming human dignity, and social justice in this world based on a human rights-based approach. This is a clear announcement of the EJ-YMCA of its Christian mission, which expresses openness to all religions and illustrates love and service to all human beings and victims of injustice and oppression. The stated values and beliefs of The EJ-YMCA as an organization include:

  • To create opportunities for young people’s material, social and spiritual development which are participative, inclusive, and empowering.
  • To work with a commitment characterized by its holistic development.
  • To empower young person- centred approach, in which young people are active participants in their own, and their community’s development.
  • To particularly emphasize on strengthening young people’s ability to embrace the rights and responsibilities of citizenship through community participation and advocacy.
  • To have a deep commitment to Human rights, and National rights, justice and peace.
  • To have a Christian Ecumenical Association with openness, membership and services and equal opportunities for all.
  • To have a bias (preference) to work with the poor, weak, marginalized and disadvantaged.
  • To be committed to work with gender awareness and sensitivity.
  • To have a strong commitment to work in partnerships with our and other organizations.
  • To be uncompromising with the “ quality of work”
  • To respect and value diversity in all aspects of the EJ-YMCA which are essential to its well-being. This should be reflected not only in the people we serve but also in our staff, our volunteers, and our board.
  • To focus on abilities rather than disabilities.
  • To be transparent and accountable

The East Jerusalem YMCA was established in 1948 in a tent in Aqabat Jaber Refugee Camp, near Jericho.  Today, the YMCA operates a variety of programs and activities consistent with its vision for Holistic Youth Development.  These programs respond directly to the needs of people within all sectors of Palestinian society without discrimination. Special emphasis is given to young men and women.

The premises are in the following locations:

  • The main building is in Jerusalem where the Head Quarters and the Program Department operate. The events that started on 28 September 2000 and resulted in complete halt of tourism forced us to close the Hotel, which is major part of the building.
  • The Ramallah rented premises, where The East Jerusalem YMCA Extension Service Unit Program, the Youth Opportunity Program and the Women’s Training Program operate.
  • The Aqabat Jaber Refugee Camp, near Jericho premises, where the East Jerusalem Vocational Training Center operates.
  • Beit Sahour premises where the East Jerusalem YMCA Rehabilitation Program and youth programs operate in addition to our Field of the Shepherds. On 10 October 2002, we celebrated the inauguration of the new “YOUTH CENTER” where sports, cultural, social and recreational activities will be performed. The Center consists of an indoors semi-Olympic pool, indoors space for conducting sports, cultural, social and recreational programs, a cafeteria, parking lot and a garden.
  • Offices in Gaza, Nablus, Hebron, Jenin, Tulkarem, Qalqilya and Salfit operate to cover the outreach work and to complement the other locations geographical spread.

The Programs of the East Jerusalem YMCA are the following:

The Vocational Training Center (VTC) commenced its training in 1952 after the UNRWA assumed the relief service for the Palestinian Refugees and after a thorough study of the needs of our Palestinian Society at that time and which is valid until the present time. The goal of the Center is to provide vocational training to males and females in order to become productive elements in their society and support themselves and their families. The vocations include woodwork, metalwork, general maintenance, painting, and auto-mechanics for male students. The Electronics and Computer Department, established in 1996, provides training for female students in maintenance of electronic equipment and training on computers in various market required fields such as Graphic Design. To date, the Center graduated 48 class including five female classes. The Vocational Training Center (VTC) includes a boarding section for male students and the boarding section for female students is located in a different location near Jericho.

The Program Department operates the sports, cultural, social and recreational activities including youth and work camps, leadership training, youth exchange programs, international conferences and other activities that aim at developing and enriching the spirit, mind and body of youth and other members of our Palestinian Society. The major role of the Department is to put into practice the vision, mission, goal and objectives of the East Jerusalem YMCA.

The Rehabilitation Program (RP) was launched in 1989 in response to the needs arising from the first Intifada related injuries and physical disabilities. The Al-Aqsa Intifada that started on 28 September 2000, re-enhanced the urgency of the Program to focus on the injuries and physical disabilities of the violence victims in order to achieve the Program’s goal of full integration of the physically disabled into their own community. The Program provides psychosocial and vocational rehabilitative services all over the West Bank, in addition to medical aids to help the physically disabled reach the maximum possible degree of independence. Building accessibility facilities for persons with disabilities is one of the unique offerings of the Program. The Program trains its staff and develops the most up-to-date means and methodologies to cope with international standards of operation and expertise.

The Extension Services Unit Program (ESU) was initiated in 1992. The Goal of the ESU is to stimulate long term self-sustaining jobs and micro-enterprise development in the vocational industrial sector of the West Bank and Gaza. The ESU target groups are the vocational, industrial and polytechnic graduates of both genders in addition to vocational workers in the vocational industrial sector in the West Bank and Gaza. The activities of the ESU are training within industry, specialized technical courses, industrial excursions and open days, management training for small businesses and machinery loans for micro and small businesses. Within the structure of the ESU, the Youth Opportunities Program (YOP) was developed to cover the stimulation of new educational, recreational and economic opportunities for disadvantaged Palestinian youth through sustainable career counseling. The YOP cooperates and coordinates its activities with the other East Jerusalem YMCA programs and functions each according to its field of operations. The activities of YOP include training in career counseling; support of construction and management of youth centers; educational, recreational and economic integration of disabled youth within the above centers and other institutions and locations; and youth employment and income generation through training courses in different skills.

The Women’s Training Program (WTP) was initiated in April 1993 to improve the socio-economic status and involvement of women in the Palestinian society, through strengthening their decision-making capabilities and economic productivity both inside and outside their homes. The current Goal of the WTP is to reinforce the role of Palestinian women through strengthening their initiatives and capabilities in order to achieve sustainable development in their local communities. The WTP activities include career counseling in schools and youth centers, training of career counselors, intensive training in the targeted rural areas, short-term training courses in non-conventional fields like curtains, bed covers and cushions production, loans and community based development models.

The Advocacy Desk was established in December 2000. Its goal is to promote peace and justice, as the two indispensable and equivalent principles that are the basis for stability, tolerance, and equality in Palestine.  The Desk works to raise awareness concerning the injustices suffered by the Palestinian people among local and international organizations, as well as partners and friends around the world.  Specifically, the objectives are as follows:  to improve mechanisms for cooperation and coordination among YMCAs and YWCAs in Palestine, the World YWCA, the World Alliance of YMCAs, other organizations, partners, and friends; to mobilize the above-mentioned parties to support justice in Palestine through all possible means;  to enhance awareness concerning the Palestinian situation among international YMCA/YWCA movements and other partners and friends through the activities of the Free Palestine Campaign; to build bridges of understanding between Palestinian and foreign youth from various cultures through encouraging young people with potential for leadership from YMCAs and YWCAs to visit Palestine in order to share their experiences of youth development and social justice.

 

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