Why do we work with youth ?

Category: Youth & Exchange Created: 09 November 2009

Young people gain more from an experience when they are actively involved. Direct youth involvement offers potential benefits to young people, both those who help to develop programs and those served by the programs, as well offering benefits to the organizations. Programs for youth which are developed with their full participation can be highly effective in empowering young people and building their skills.

Youths (16 – 25) in Palestinian society compose around 27% (Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics - PCBS) of the population, while children (those 15 or younger), soon to become youths, compose about 42% (PCBS) of it. They are future leaders who should be invested in. The long-lasting occupation has made many people, especially youth, apathetic and their previous optimism about the future of Palestine is fading. Young Palestinians often feel powerless, marginalized and alienated from decision-making processes which affect their lives and future.

The JAI is a program of the East Jerusalem YOUNG Men's Christian Association (YMCA) and YOUNG Women's Christian Association (YWCA) of Palestine. Therefore, youths should always be involved as key stakeholders in the JAI and its two mother organizations.

We target international and Palestinian youth communities, since we believe that young communities in any society are the most effective agents of change. We encourage youth to be active members in advocacy efforts which work to achieve peace with justice and create a better reality for all.

The JAI works to empower youth in society by building their capacity for greater participation to work towards a democratic, free and peaceful civil society with equal opportunities for both genders. Empowerment also focuses on equipping them with effective advocacy tools so that they can communicate the Palestinian cause to the international community, as well as understanding other global causes – working towards Global Citizenship. JAI believes that youth must play a central role in global gatherings and share their fears, grief, dreams and ambitions and influence decision makers to act for a better future.