ONGOING PROJECT: MENDers
The Menders are a rapidly growing group of young Palestinians from all over the West Bank and Jerusalem
who work with a variety of creative approaches to promote nonviolence, especially among their peers,
both in Palestine and abroad.
They grew out of a nonviolence summer camp (“Youth Living with Conflict”) held in Jerusalem in the summer of 2001 with children from South Africa, the North of Ireland and Kenya, in which the children designed a plea for an end to conflict which they sent to the United Nations.
There have been a number of projects which have helped the Menders to grow, starting with support from the Japanese Volunteer Movement for the production of a newsletter about the summer camp and about the need for alternatives to violence. This was followed by support from the National Endowment for Democracy, who not only gave continuing support for a regular newsletter, but also covered trainings in art, drama and radio work, and with time allowed us to expand to a group in Ramallah as well as in Jerusalem.
They have written and produced their own plays and produced their own radio discussion shows on topics of
For nearly two years, the Ford Foundation have supported the expansion of the Menders groups to each of Mend’s active nonviolence centres in the West Bank. This project includes sixty hours of training for each group in nonviolence, communications and human rights, and also another sixty hours of training in participatory video (q.v.) along with the production of a film by this methodology. At present, the Menders in Tul Karem, Hebron and Ramallah have all completed their training and their films, and groups in Qalqilya and Jerusalem are currently being trained. The films are awaiting editing (by Al Quds Educational Television) and will then be copied and distributed for the viewing and discussion by all the different groups.
As a continuation of the development of the Menders, and as the final stage in consolidating them as a national group, Save the Children have granted funds to Mend for a summer camp for this summer (2006) where they will meet and exchange experiences, both concerning their daily lives and issues with the occupation, and concerning their work as Menders. Those most interested in filming will make a film of the camp, and others will organize a play and yet others an art exhibition, all for a culminating open day. They will continue to meet and to work as volunteers for promoting nonviolence within their schools and communities and will organize two major nonviolence events and produce a film on nonviolence.