Palestine Volunteer Summer Project

Palestinian Cultural Exchange.  July –  August 2018

This is a three week summer  exchange program designed to promote mutual understanding and enhance leadership skills for both Palestinians and internationals. It will also provides an opportunity to experience local life in Palestine. We are looking for just seven to ten volunteers who are highly interested in interacting with youth and children in Palestine.

The project is based in the ancient city of Tulkarm in the West Bank.


Volunteer Work and Objectives

To enhance cultural exchange amongst young people. It aims to provide international volunteers with an opportunity to interact with local people in Palestine, while sharing their own culture with Palestinian youth.


Mornings will begin with yoga and group meditations. After a ‘freshly produced breakfast work will begin.   It will include teaching English, the arts, theatre, games and sports to local children. Trips will be arranged to local sites particularly the ones of biblical interest.

Costs and Application

The £950 cost for the three week experience includes local coordination and support, transport, airport pick up, meals, accommodation with a local family and activities. It does not cover the cost of flights or travel insurance.

Applicants need to be aged 21 or older and submit a GapArt application form along with a personal statement. The group size is strictly limited so we urge you to make an application as soon as possible. This will be particularly attractive to volunteers with an interest in the Middle East, the arts and cultural exchange.

Young people in the West Bank town of Tulkarm suffer from the stress of regular Israeli incursions into their homes and into many aspects of their lives. Due to travel restrictions they have extremely limited ability to participate in sports, they cannot enjoy the arts and are unable to express themselves in ways that most people in western countries take for granted. Stress, upset and frustration can be bottled up and lead to long term traumas going into adulthood.

GapArt works in close conjunction with Logica, a Palestinian Private Community Centre whose aim is to reduce tension and aggression in the educational system through sports, debate and the arts. The sports and debating programmes are expanding with excellent results in 22 West Bank schools. GapArt has been asked to assist with the art and performing arts project.

Initially we need volunteers to run a series of workshops for young students based in the Tulkarm area. The pilot scheme has been successful and we were inundated with so many eager participants that our art teachers had to turn people away. Our art programme aims to reduce conflict among children from different backgrounds (towns, villages, and refugee camps) and integrate them through art workshops, sharing their fears, their challenges, their opinions and their dreams.

In our pilot programme we were overwhelmed with enthusiasm and delighted in the results achieved in just a few days. We were also moved by the discussions and language of the students.

We now need volunteers with art skills to run workshops for our numerous eager, budding artists. The aim is to improve their skills, give them a means of expressing themselves and to enjoy art for art’s sake. Volunteers are needed for periods of a week to three months from 1st July – 30 September.

For further details, see our Palestine country page. Then simply contact us or complete the application form.

El Hamshari is a wonderful, thriving school for 500 girls aged 10–14 in the centre of Tulkarm. The head teacher Mrs Shafiqa speaks good English and is very keen to expand the rather narrow curriculum that the girls currently follow. Due to a lack of space, resources and teachers, sport, art, music and drama have been neglected for several years. Severe travel restrictions caused by the wall exacerbate the situation, the girls suffer from daily trauma and little room is allowed for the release of energy. It is recognised that art can be a powerful tool for the healing of trauma and expression of anxiety.

GapArt has been asked to bring volunteer artists to the school to teach both art and drama to the girls. Most of the art work would take place outside and would be a combination of teaching and creating permanent murals on the rather drab external walls. Both the girls and staff seem enthusiastic to support this but need volunteers with art skills to get the project off the ground. Supervision and all the materials would be provided by our Tulkarm coordinator. We just need you. The best time would be for a few weeks at some point between September and April as part of an ongoing project.

For further details, see our Palestine country page. Then simply contact us or complete the application form.

Kadoorie University on the edge of Tulkarm was established as an agricultural college during the time of the British Palestinian Mandate in the 1930s. As such it is one of the oldest colleges in Palestine. It has maintained its land-based courses and became a fully-fledged university in 2007 with specialist faculties in agriculture, energy research and veterinary science. It has approximately 7,000 students.

Student life is constantly disrupted by the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and in recent years the campus was divided by the wall. Academics have been inventive in finding ways around curfews and continue to produce good students with some excellent results.

To the distress of both staff and students, parts of the campus are regularly used as training grounds for the Israeli army. In 2016 there were 83 campus invasions by Israeli soldiers who did their best to intimidate and provoke. During protests about this, Palestinian students have been arrested and detained. Not only is the wall a physical barrier, it is also a constant reminder of the suppression and restrictions on daily life that Palestinians feel.

GapArt volunteers have been asked to coordinate a wall painting project working alongside Palestinian students and artists. This has been successfully achieved in other areas such as Jerusalem, where wall graffiti has been humorous, political and aesthetic. The Banksy Walled Off Hotel and associated wall graffiti is a prime example of this. Regardless of the actual artwork it can raise awareness of the aggressive, unfair divide that the wall creates.

For periods of two or three weeks, in a well-organised programme you would work with Palestinian students on the university campus side of the wall creating works of wall art that are likely to be viewed by human rights groups across the world. This is a benign form of artistic protest against the infringement of human rights that the wall creates.

“We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.” Nelson Mandela

Volunteers with metal and welding skills have also been asked to turn old Israeli ordinance and wrecked vehicles into works of art that could be placed alongside the wall as the central piece of a weapons into art protest project.

The best time to support this project would be between January and April when the academic calendar is at its quietest.

For further details, see our Palestine country page. Then simply contact us or complete the application form.