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Palestinian Youth Association for Leadership and Rights Activation

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The Palestinian Youth Association for Leadership and Rights Activation (PYALARA) is a youth-oriented Palestinian communication and media non-governmental organization designed to provide a creative outlet for young Palestinians frustrated by the harsh conditions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Palestinians are taught to express themselves through written, oral, and media communications published in a monthly newspaper The Youth Times and a weekly television program, Alli Sowtak (Speak Up).

PYALARA uses an open, two-way communication system, rather than the one-way pedagogic method favored by most educational institutions, to impart knowledge. The focus is on empowerment through learning about the rights of children and youth, civil and legal rights during conflict, team-building, raising cultural awareness, protecting the environment and social activism. Students participate in journalism, counseling, and advocacy to overcome the marginalization and alienation of youth.

PYALARA is as a major strategic partner for UNICEF and works closely with the Palestinian Ministry of Education, Ministry of Information, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Palestinian universities and colleges, many secondary schools, and several other NGOs.

Criticism

NGO Monitor criticized PYALARA's publishing of two articles for children which glorified Palestinian terrorism. One was about Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine leader Abu Ali Mustafa, calling him "a political leader ... whose history prides his nationalistic activism," without mentioning anything of his activities in planning and carrying out terrorist acts. The other article, referred to suicide bombers as "young Palestinians who have willingly sacrificed their lives in the name of their homeland." In addition, NGO Monitor criticized PYALARA for using funds “donated explicitly for non-political and non-violent projects in order to promote blatantly political objectives, including the indirect support for terror attacks on civilians."[1]

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