Banaat Connect is an online language-exchange program between Palestinian women and girls in the Jerash Refugee Camp learning English and female Arabic students from the U.S. or Canada. Stay in touch and get our big announcements, new program information, and latest pictures and blog posts delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter here!
We believe in women empowering themselves through language. Run out of the Hopes-Sitti Women’s Center and with Hopes for Women in Education, a nonprofit registered in Canada in Jordan, we coordinate and support online language-exchange sessions between Palestinian refugee women and girls learning English and female Arabic students in the U.S., Canada, & Europe.
What We Do
We recruit participants from universities in the U.S., Canada, & Europe as well as from the Jerash Refugee Camp. Then, we match partners together, administer orientations, and provide materials to use during the meetings (i.e., weekly themes with corresponding discussion questions and vocabulary lists, plus supplementary materials). During each 2 month term, we check in with the participants and provide them new learning resources and other relevant media.
Who We Serve
Refugee Women and Girls
We operate out of the Jerash Refugee Camp, which is located outside of Jerash City, about 55 km from Amman. The Camp was established in 1968 as an “emergency” camp for refugees fleeing the Gaza Strip as a result of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.
This camp has existed for almost 50 years, and instead of the intended capacity of 11,500 persons in the camp, today an estimated 29,000 squished into .75 square kilometers are forced to call this their home. According to a UN report from 2013, the Camp is the most poverty stricken out of the ten official Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan.
Everyone who lives there, whether moved there as a refugee or was born there, is without rights. Unlike refugees from the West Bank, ex-Gazans are not considered citizens. They are not eligible for public services like public education, employment opportunities, or health care.
We provide educational opportunities for the women and girls living in this camp. Although every person who lives here faces a lack of opportunity, this is especially so for the females. We believe that allowing them to learn English and make connections with women from around the world, as well as providing them with professional development and employment pathways, will equip them to set goals and reach them, to break out of the binds that restrict them.
Female Arabic Students
One of the most important aspects of this program and why it has the potential for success is the element of exchange. Not only are native English speakers able to lend their skills to those living in the Camp, but the women and girls in the Camp are able to help the Arabic-learners as well. Relationships built on balance, we believe, are bound to be fulfilling.
Additionally, we are helping students learn Palestinian Arabic, when ordinarily universities only teach Modern Standard Arabic. Learning an Arabic dialect allows one to fully experience life in the Middle East and understand pop culture, like television and music.
To learn more about what we do, and how you can join us,
take a look around the site.