Project Hope (Palestine)

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Project Hope Palestine (Humanitarian Opportunities for Peace and Education) is a UK registered non-governmental organisation providing free educational and recreational programmes for children in and around the city of Nablus in the northern part of Israeli occupied Palestinian Territories, known as the West Bank, some 63km north of Jerusalem. It is thought to be the largest organisation of its kind in the West Bank.


Project Hope was established in 2003 at the height of the second Palestinian uprising - intifada - against Israeli military occupation.[1] It was co-founded by three Nablus-born locals, Hakim Sabbah, Salem Hantoli and Samah Atout, together with Canadian Jeremy Wildeman who while volunteering in West Bank education in 2002 was caught up in the violence. He returned to Nablus in 2003 to help address the humanitarian crisis in his own way, by addressing the severe educational and opportunity deficiencies youth faced there. As Wildeman later told the Toronto Star,[2] he returned with nothing more than an idea, and a group of volunteers. His idea was to provide educational opportunities to children who because of the humanitarian crisis caused by the conflict were being denied their basic rights under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989 to 'learn, thrive and grow' in a safe and supportive environment. He teamed up with three Nablus residents to fulfil this aim according to their shared vision. Samah Atout spent her formative years as a university student enduring the horrors of the Second Intifada and wanted to do something for her community - led by the community rather than by donors with often conflicting political agendas. Hakim Sabeh emphasised the cultural aspects of educational work in Nablus, as well as providing classes open to as many communities as possible in the Nablus Governate, including the refugee camps and villages surrounding Nablus. According to Project Hope's mission statement their aim is to support and empower Palestinian youth through learning, the same principle that guides the work today.


In 2013 Project Hope hosted 144 international volunteers from 19 countries, the majority from the United States, France and Britain. This represents a 57% increase over 2011. [3] Volunteers are required to contribute to the cost of shared accommodation in houses belonging to the charity. All volunteers undergo induction before teaching or setting up workshops and summer camps. Local volunteers are key to supporting overseas teams in the classroom and other activities.


The charity, led by co-founder and Director Hakim Sabeh, is said to be the largest non-governmental organisation of its kind in the West Bank. It employs locally engaged staff to manage and administer the programmes. Depending on demand, classes and workshops typically focus on languages (English and French), information technology and the arts, including drama and photography. They take place in community settings in partnership with schools, community centres and village halls. In 2013 there were 69 such local partners. [4]


Project Hope is funded by overseas grants and donations.


  • Go Overseas [5]
  • Volunteer teaching in Palestine [6]

Project Hope and Firefly International[edit]

In 2013, Project Hope Palestine entered into partnership with the Scottish-registered charity Firefly International, [7] which supports a locally-run educational project similar to Project Hope - Svitac, meaning firefly - in the northeast of Bosnia. Both projects work with large numbers of children in war-torn areas, on modest budgets. Jeremy Wildeman was appointed interim Director of Firefly International in June 2014.[7]


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