“Banaat Connect for me is not only a program for exchanging language… It’s an amazing way to make awesome friends (Like my wonderful friend Padideh), and understand the cultures, customs and traditions of other people. I’m very proud to participate in Banaat Connect.” – Summer 2016 Participant from the Jerash Camp
Online Language-Exchange Sessions:
- We bring together women learning Arabic in the United States, Canada, and Europe with underserved refugee women and girls for online, real-time language exchange sessions in both Arabic and English, based out of the Hopes Women’s Center in the Gaza Refugee Camp in Jerash, Jordan.
- We recruit, coordinate, and manage four 2-month terms each year. Terms begin in January, April, July, and October.
- We match partners together, create curricula for partners to use during their sessions, and troubleshoot as necessary to ensure that meetings are going smoothly.
- We have more than 100 current past and present participants!
“Both of us have benefited not only from the language exchange, but also from the cultural exchange in which we’ve learned about each other’s lifestyles, outlooks, obstacles and achievements, dreams and hopes for the future.” – Summer 2016 Participant from Montréal, Canada
Q: How often do partners meet?
A: One session consists of two one-hour meetings per week for 2 months. (16 hours total)
Q: Does this cost money?
A: We charge a nominal fee, $4 per meeting, $64 total, but if you register before the early registration deadline we deduct $10, making your total $54. These fees pay for the internet bill in the computer lab, the salaries for our two in-camp employees, the rent for the center, and more. If money is an issue for you, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll try to work something out.
Q: If I participate, do I have to plan content for our meetings?
A: No. During the orientation process, we will provide you with what we call a Conversation Guide. This consists of weekly themes, such as family, holidays, and ethics. For each week, there are discussion questions, vocabulary sets (in English, MSA, and Palestinian Dialect), and other supplementary materials.
Q: What is the timeline between now and starting lessons with my partner?
A: We start new terms along a schedule, with new terms beginning in January, April, July, and October. Fill out an interest form on the Get Involved page to stay in the loop.
In-person Saturday English Classes:
- In-country volunteers host weekly English classes for women in the camp to prepare them to participate in Banaat Connect and help them continue their English practice during and after their participation in language exchange sessions.
Professional Development Workshops:
- In-person and online professional development courses for women in the camp, on topics such as time and stress management to goal setting, professional email writing, and self-determination. These classes will be calibrated according to the social context in the Camp.
Coming Soon: Pathways to Employment
- The Pathways to Employment program will provide past language exchange participants from Gaza Camp with personalized job and skills counseling and professional experience working with partnered organizations. This program will give women from the camp the experience, training, and skills to become competitive applicants and succeed in the workplace in and out of the camp.