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الأربعاء, 24 مارس 2010 10:01

Having a holistic vision to youth development which encompasses their social and health aspects has a profound effect on their well-being. Social well-being has both direct and indirect impact on health, which is why they should be considered jointly. The improvement of the lives of youth in Palestine includes developing their personalities, increasing their self-esteem, clarifying values, changing negative attitudes, improving their information and knowledge about their bodies, and equipping them with life skills to enable them to make informed decisions throughout the different stages of their life. With approximately 65% of the population in Palestine below 24 years of age, youth make up an important sector with many needs and nominal attention.

Youth and children in Palestine live under very unusual circumstances, mostly in a world of contradictions. The isolation of towns, villages in the west bank and the isolation of East Jerusalem leaves them confused, marginalized, and in a situation of ambiguous belonging. A recurring theme surfacing through youth forums is the claim that there is no one to listen to or who cares about their needs and future.

Compounded with strong feelings of abandonment and loss, identity crisis appears as a main problem among youth in Palestine and particularly in East Jerusalem. With occupation bearing on high school students from one side, and a void in recreational and extra-curricular activities, boredom and apathy has engulfed them. The recent increase in identity, delinquency and social problems in Jerusalem particularly and in the West Bank- such as school abandonment, drug addiction, the harassment of women, etc – is the direct result of their reality and requires a holistic intervention – including training and awareness programs in addition to cultural and sports activities. Working directly with various schools and NGO partners in Jerusalem, Juzoor Foundation for Health and Social Development has developed and implemented a Youth Parliament model that brings together Palestinian youth to foster leadership development and community building, as well as covering issues relevant to their growth and maturity