“Christmas in Bethlehem; priceless experience”

Bethlehem city
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The project seeks to bring young people from various cultures together to build cultural bridges of understanding, reconciliation and global peace. The long-term goal of project is to prepare youth to make positive contributions to society through the values of understanding, helping, contributing tolerance, and respectful global coexistence building on common grounds of cultural proximities and differences. These goals are achieved through education, informational, awareness raising, youth empowerment and work camps.

Project Description:

The volunteers will work in different areas in Bethlehem city and surrounding areas. The work will include; painting, renovation, restoration, gardening, tree planting etc.

Food and Accommodation:

The volunteers will be hosted in flats in Bethlehem (20 minutes walking distance from the Nativity Church) where men and women stay in separate rooms. The accommodation includes hot water and a kitchen with basic cooking equipment. The volunteers will cook by themselves. Tea and coffee will be available all the time.
There might be curfew for the work camp, which would be around midnight, unless we have some activities around the church or in the city that night/evening.

Cultural Activities:

The afternoon will be dedicated to educational/cultural activities that will expose volunteers to Palestinian culture and history, and will enable volunteers to understand the realities of life under occupation. The program will include lectures, documentaries, visits to refugee camps in the Bethlehem area and tours of other places of interest. The program will provide many opportunities for interaction with locals. Volunteers will have the opportunity to speak with ME066- IPYL079 “Christmas in Bethlehem; priceless experience”
Palestinian activists who will answer whatever questions they have about the situation in Palestine.

Why in Bethlehem?

Bethlehem is considered a central hub of Palestinian cultural and tourism industries. The city has significant values for Christians as according to the Gospels it contains the birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth. Bethlehem is also home to one of largest Palestinian Christian communities in the Middle East. In addition, Bethlehem has three Palestinian Refugee Camps (Dhisha, Al-Azza and Aaida). The construction of the Israeli apartheid wall has had a severe impact on the city, politically, socially, and economically. The wall runs along the northern side of the town's built-up area, within meters of houses in 'A'ida refugee camp on the one side, and the suburbs of Jerusalem on the other.
The work camp will run throughout the Christmas period. Bethlehem is the best place to celebrate Christmas and to witness this unique cultural experience. The volunteers will have the opportunity to celebrate the Christmas with the Palestinians and express their solidarity with them.

Practical information:

Don’t forget to bring: (Necessary)
 Pullover or light jacket in case of rain (December workcamp)
 Working shoes
 Working clothes and gloves
 For the summer camps, please bring mosquito lotion and sun glasses
 Information about your country; food, drinks and music etc…
 Warm clothes as it could get very cold in December, especially at night
You are encouraged to bring musical instruments and/or anything which can create international theme parties, based on food, drinks, music, dance and games that are typical from your home country.

Additional notes:

 The participants have to pay 300 Euro to IPYL, as participation fees for the camp upon arrival. The amount can be paid in Euro, US Dollars and New Israeli Shekels according to the official exchange rate of the day.
 The local currency is the New Israeli Shekel (the most common one). One Euro is around 4.2 Shekels 1 USD is about 3.7 Shekels.
 The volunteers will cook themselves in teams, in a rotating way (daily kitchen group- mainly the breakfasts and dinners). But in most cases we will have the food provided ready.
 We could also organize optional trips to other cities and sites (dead sea, Ramallah, Nablus etc) during the camp period (the cost is to be covered by the volunteers- NOT IPYL).
 IPYL camps are alcohol and drugs free. We expect volunteers to respect this rule. We will provide opportunities for volunteers to visit bars within the city of Bethlehem, where they can drink.
 The transportation to and from the borders/camp accommodation/borders is NOT covered by IPYL.